Ben Shelton it has been called “the future of American men’s tennis”.
It’s a title that will no doubt weigh heavily on a nation that has not seen men’s Grand Slam success since Andy Roddick lifted the US Open trophy in 2003.
But so far the signs are good for 6’3 [1.9m] A native of Atlanta who boasts an explosive left-handed serve that is said to average 126mph.
Shelton turned pro just before last year’s US Open and quickly became popular thanks to his incredible entertainer en route to victory over the 2022 French Open finalist Kacper Ruud in a Masters 1000 match.
The 20-year-old is already registered Roger Federer the management company TEAM8 has the same agent Coco Gaufand receives coaching from his father. It’s safe to say that Shelton is in good hands.
He went abroad for the first time to participate in Australian Open 2023.
Below we take a closer look at the tennis prodigy’s past and reveal some interesting facts you may not have known about him.
1 – Tennis is in Ben Shelton’s DNA
As the son of a former professional tennis player turned coach, it could be said that Shelton was destined to follow in his footsteps.
Father, Bryan, played from 1989 to 1997, reached world No. 55 and lifted two ATP Tour singles trophies.
He reached at least the second round of all four Grand Slams in both singles and doubles, with the fourth round of Wimbledon in 1994 being his best finish.
In 2012, Shelton Snr. was named head coach of the University of Florida men’s tennis team, where his son eventually helped him win an NCAA Division I title. But more on that below.
2 – American football was his initial choice of sport
Despite the meteoric rise of Shelton Jnr. in tennis, American football was actually his first sporting love.
More sociable than his father, the left-handed quarterback initially preferred the thrill of team sports.
“I sort of accepted at a young age that tennis probably wasn’t going to be his thing. I was thinking about team sports. He’s much more sociable than I was at that stage. I was more of an introvert and he was a total extrovert. It’s loud, open and has so much energy,” Bryan said ATP tournament.
“My parents wouldn’t let me play football and I always said if I had a son and he wanted to play I would let him play.”
While Bryan Shelton was a tennis coach at Georgia Tech, he met NFL and Detroit Lions legend Calvin Johnson_, who was playing at the university at the time.
“He (Johnson) came to one of my birthday parties when I was maybe nine and gave me a signed ball,” revealed Ben Shelton.
Ben decided to commit his future to tennis at the age of 12 and the move paid off.
In 2021, with Bryan as head coach and son Ben as freshman, the Florida men’s team won their first ever national championship with a 4–1 win over Baylor.
A year later, sophomore Shelton won the 2022 NCAA Men’s Singles Championship.
3 – The Ben Shelton Mentality
Despite his precocious natural talent and rapid development in tennis, Shelton remains grounded thanks to his father.
At the age of 16, Ben, like many talented juniors, thought it was time to gain experience playing abroad.
However, this idea was quickly rejected by Bryan, who pointed out that his son does not need to test himself abroad, since he is not even number 1 his age in the United States.
To this day, Shelton remains a process-driven player focused on not getting caught up in the highs or lows of being a tennis player.
“I don’t focus on every point whether I’m winning or losing. If I make a serious mistake, I can laugh about it… I just take whatever I can get right now, enjoying everything I have and not stressing too much,” said Ben. Behind Raquet podcast.
4 – First trip abroad: Australian Open 2023
Shelton took his father’s advice so seriously that his first trip outside the US was in 2023 at the Australian Open!
“I’m really excited to be here full-time,” said Shelton ATP tournament. “I hope to meet great people and make good friends. I love playing tennis and competing, so I’m hoping it’s going to be a really fun year.”
5 – An exemplary student
Despite the fact that he now travels around the world to further his tennis career, Shelton does not neglect his studies.
The 20-year-old is taking two online classes: Entrepreneurship and International Business.
“I often have time in the evenings when my day ends, so finding the time wasn’t too hard. Two lessons is a pretty light plan, so it wasn’t much of a struggle,” Shelton continued.
But instead of distracting him from his sports activities, Shelton finds that it gives his life a better balance.
“It’s definitely nice to have something outside of tennis that I can immerse myself in or pass the time without becoming too monotonous.”