Years after the retirement of legends like Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, America still seeks its new hero in the competitive world of male tennis. While Serena Williams was winning Slam after Slam, dominating the WTA, the United States didn’t succeed much with their male players in this beautiful sport. Nowadays, everyone looks at the 20-year-old Ben Shelton, asking the same question – could he be the new Messiah?
2023 was the year of Ben Shelton. He reached the Australian Open 1/4-finals, while at the US Open, he made his way to the 1/2-finals – his best Grand Slam achievement to date. He lost the match against the legendary Novak Djokovic but showed everyone that he could be a real star in the future.
Playing with his left hand, Ben Shelton debuted at the ATP Top 20 rankings thanks to his performances in New York. We will present 10 Ben Shelton facts you must know if you’re a real tennis fan!
Ben Shelton Facts You Have to Know
Ben Shelton has a monster serve
Considering the different weapons in Ben Shelton’s arsenal, serving is probably the biggest one – he’s really good at this. It has been calculated that his average serving is at the speed of 126 miles per hour. While playing at the US Open in 2023, Shelton made two aces while serving at 149 miles per hour. Impressive, isn’t it?
He likes going to the net
Modern tennis is all about playing from the baseline, but the best players are versatile enough to get to the net when needed. Ben Shelton is one of these players. In one of his interviews, he admits: “I love to get to the net, be able to use some of my hand skills, athletic skills, and going up to get the ball (to put away overheads) is one of my favorite things to do.”
He didn’t take tennis seriously until he was 12
You probably know what they say – you must start playing tennis at 4 or 5 to become a great player. And many of the greats did precisely that. But Ben Shelton? He’s an entirely different case. The American didn’t play regularly until he was 12. That’s when he realized that tennis was his future.
His father reached No. 55 in the world
Ben Shelton is the son of Bryan Shelton – a former professional tennis player who peaked at No. 55 in the ATP rankings. Nowadays, Bryan is working as a coach at the University of Florida.
He was dreaming of playing football instead of tennis
As we said, Ben Shelton didn’t have a severe interest in tennis until he hit 12 years of age. That’s because he dreamed of becoming a professional football player. He was playing as a quarterback for his team in the middle school. Ben had to choose between football and tennis at some point in his life. And he chose tennis.
He reunited with his father at the University of Florida
As a talented teenager in the world of tennis, Ben Shelton got offers from various universities to continue his education. It was easy for him to choose the University of Florida – where his dad was working as a coach. But according to Ben, he had to work even harder to get his place in the tennis team. In an interview with ESPN, Shelton admitted: “[My dad] was definitely tougher on me, he made sure everyone on the team knew that I was in line, and if I messed up, I was getting in trouble the same as them if not more,” Ben says. “I had to earn my spot in the lineup even more so than anyone else.”
Experts expect Ben Shelton to become the first American Grand Slam winner since 2003
2003 was the year when an American won a Grand Slam tournament for the last time. That’s when Andy Roddick won the US Open. Since then, nobody from the United States managed to win a Grand Slam competition. According to some pundits, especially after the US Open 2023, Ben Shelton could be the man to do it. It’s a massive pressure on his shoulders, but the 20-year-old star is showing much promise so far.
What are Ben Shelton’s nicknames?
As always, the American media quickly gave Ben Shelton a few interesting nicknames. Have you heard “Box-Office-Ben”? Or what about “Big Ben”? Maybe it sounds too predictable. You’d like to know that in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS), Ben Shelton was nicknamed “The Mountain.”
He was compared to Rafael Nadal
Although Ben Shelton admits that Roger Federer is the player he wants to emulate, it was Rafael Nadal he was compared to. Why? Because of his whipping forehand and the way he covers the entire court. The passion in his game is evident, and that’s something that makes him similar to El Matador. Of course, it’s too early to compare Shelton to one of the greatest tennis players ever, but it could inspire him.
He believes he can be No. 1 in the world
You can’t do anything in this world if you don’t believe in yourself. Self-confidence is critical, and it’s very different from arrogance. While speaking to “All on the Table”, Ben Shelton told his friends Frances Tiafoe and Christopher Eubanks: “I have full belief in myself that I can win Grand Slams, that I can be number one in the world.”
What’s the highest ranking in Ben Shelton’s career so far?
Ben Shelton peaked at No. 19 in the ATP rankings after reaching the US Open 1/2-finals in 2023.
How much money has Ben Shelton made?
So far, he has earned over $ 1.3 million from playing tennis.
Who are the best players Ben Shelton has won against?
Kasper Ruud, Dominic Thiem, Fabio Fognini, and Frances Tiafoe are among the best players Shelton has beaten so far.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?