MELBOURNE, Australia — The tennis breakthroughs keep coming for Tommy Paul His American friends.

Taylor Fritz won the Masters 1000 title as the first peer of their group at the BNP Paribas. Open in Indian Wells (Calif.)

Frances Tiafoe was the first member of their group to make it into the semifinals at Grand Slam just a few months later in Carlos Alcaraz was the eventual champion, and singles were his last chance to win.

Get it now Paul, a smooth-moving talent who grew up near a small tennis academy run by his family in Greenville, N.C. has been the first American man reach this milestone an Australian Open singles semifinal since Andy Roddick in 2009.

To PaulAmerican newcomer Ben Shelton defeated america’s newcomer, 7-6 (6). 5-7.6-4. in All this happens by accident, with the quarterfinals taking place on Wednesday.

“I think it applies a lot,” Paul said. “You see Fritz win a Masters 1000, and I think all of us we’re all happy for him, but we’re all like, ‘OK, he did it. We can do that.’

“And then ‘Foe makes semifinals of the U.S. Open and had chances in the semis, and who knows what would have happened if he had won that match? So, you see that happen, and you’re, like, ‘All right, that’s awesome. I’m happy for him, but I can do that.’”

PaulWith the encouragement of Brad Stine (his veteran coach), he has accepted this hint and is now 25 years old. in September 2019, Paul She was not among the top 100 players and had just lost funding and coaching support by the United States Tennis Association. This resulted in her being denied a wildcard to the U.S. Tennis Association’s 2019 U.S. Open.

“That was based on some disciplinary things,” Stine spoke.

Stine was nevertheless impressed Paul’s openness to coaching and change — and his ability to handle world-class pace from the baseline — and though there have been some setbacks and lots of text messages, Stine feels Paul’s game is maturing and his commitment growing.

“We went from him identifying himself as a counterpuncher,” Stine: “to being a guy that’s looking for forehands and trying to dictate and dominate the court with the forehand, which was a big change because Tommy’s backhand had always been the more solid side of his game.”

Stine has already helped an American young man succeed in Australia.

He was part of Jim Courier’s coaching team in Courier was awarded back-to-back in 1992 and 1993 Australian Open Singles titles, jumped in The Yarra River, Stine and to Celebrate

“He’s done so much for my game,” Paul Originally said by Stine. “In the past four years, he’s really taken me up many, many levels. I’m really appreciative, and hopefully we can keep going. I’m going to make him jump in the Yarra if we win this thing. I’m not going, but I’m going to make him do it.”

Swimming is not the smartest idea, but it’s certainly one of the most effective. in view of the Yarra’s pollution levels, remains a long shot.

Paul’s opponent in On Friday, he will play in his first Grand Slam semifinal. Novak Djokovic, who has won a men’s record nine singles titles at the Australian Open He extended his winning streak to 26 matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday night and defeated a great player, the No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

“I could not be happier with my tennis,” Djokovic His left hamstring was still tight, but his movements and ball were unaffected.

Paul has been practiced with Djokovic But I have never met him while on tour. However, Djokovic Rublev was still present at the court Paul’s post-victory news conference, Paul He stated that he would like to take on the Melbourne Challenge.

“I probably have a better chance of winning if it’s Rublev but to play Novak here in Australia would be awesome,” Paul said.

He has more support than when he started. His mother Jill MacMillan, a former college player at East Carolina University who was his first coach, arrived in After flying from Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles to Melbourne, Wednesday morning I arrived in Melbourne in Economy class in Her scrubs. She is an audiologist and had only a carry-on bag after scrambling to make the trip on short notice after Paul Roberto Bautista Agut beat in The fourth round.

“I texted Tommy once I was on my way and told him, ‘Your mom did something really crazy today. I just jumped on a flight from work,’” MacMillan said. “And he was like, ‘Unreal!’”

She was sitting there for twenty-four hours, with little sleep. in The box for the players.

“Oh my gosh, I was so high on adrenaline, I didn’t feel it,” Sie said. “But Ben made it pretty hard for him, though.”

Shelton, an 20-year-old lefthander hailing from Gainesville (Fla. in His first Australian OpenContinued to amaze in Only his fourth event at tour level, fighting for a set despite struggling throughout the match. Paul’s serve.

“I think everyone should be really excited for that kid,” Paul said, after shaking Shelton’s hand twice and embracing him at the net.

This rising generation of Americans is bonded by genuine camaraderie Paul Fritz and Tiafoe will now be guaranteed in On Monday, the 20 most popular.

Already, he has defeated high-ranking opponents by defeating Rafael Nadal as well as the No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in 2022. He is an all-surface threat who grew up playing on green clay at his family’s club in North Carolina won the French Open boys’ title on red clay in 2015, beating Fritz in The final. Last year, he made it to the Wimbledon final on grass.

He has now made the deepest Grand Slam run at a hardcourt. If he fails to win, the Yarra river, which flows through Melbourne Park, will await him. Paul You can defeat the odds (and Djokovic) and become the first of his peer group to win a major title.

“Actually, I think he will be the one taking a swim if he wins,” Stine made a smile.