The Australian Open definitely succeeds for the representatives of the star-spangled banner, especially Ben who survives everything, even scenarios that would have driven other more seasoned players crazy. The young American (who had never left his country before the Australian tournament) and his explosive tennis were pushed to the tie-break three times by his compatriot JJ Wolf in January of this year. Never broken in these five sets, people want to know more about Ben Shelton, the American prodigy!
Ben Shelton: Did You Know His Father Told Him To Be The Best In The USA First?
This Jan he mimicked the Hulk:
Always sensational, the American prodigy was right to mimic Hulk when celebrating his victory against his compatriot Jeffrey John Wolf in the round of 16. Born in 2002, qualifying for the quarter-finals, after a fight in five sets, the kid from Atlanta completed in 3:47 of the game (6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2) and pulled off a masterstroke for his first Grand Slam tournament outside the United States. Twice he gave in, for lack of experience.
The 20-year-old kid who had never left the US’s arrival in Melbourne was to be a start, a dive into the deep end in order to mature. But the young American is growing at breakneck speed and his match against Wolf only confirmed the fact that he is quickly one of the darlings of the circuit.
Despite losing the third set in the tie-break, and despite losing the first set in the tie-break, he never gave up to finally crack his compatriot.
In this one-way fifth round, the young American showed why he was so special: remarkable strength of character, offensive tennis, and a love of showmanship making Shelton became the first American to reach the quarter-finals of a Major before turning 21 since Andy Roddick in 2003 at Wimbledon.
He reached the quarter-finals during his first ever Australian tournament:
Like a university tennis match where the energy of the young American ended up seducing everyone at his 8th round victory, Ben Shelton comes out on top against Wolf after achieving the masterstroke of qualifying for the quarter-finals, for his first participation in the Australian tournament. The one who had never played outside the United States qualified in five sets against JJ Wolf (6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2). He then challenged Tommy Paul, who fell for Roberto Bautista Agut.
Most shockingly, Shelton never left the US:
The tennis prodigy who challenged his compatriot Tommy Paul for a place in the last four of the Australian Open had never left the United States before the end of 2022.
Back in Jan of this year, a place in the Australian Grand Slam semi-finals was a real feat for the 20-year-old left-hander who has exploded since the start of the tournament. When he used his name for the first time and left his homeland last December to join Melbourne, not many people knew Ben Shelton… and vice versa. The young man had never left the United States, not even for the holidays.
The American still pointed to an honorable 83rd place at the ATP. A ranking acquired only thanks to tournaments played within the borders of Uncle Sam. The native of Atlanta gleaned his points by good performances during ATP tournaments, Challengers… He even benefited from a wild card for the US Open last September. But the Grand Slam adventure did not last very long with elimination in the first round.
He just used his passport for the first time:
a powerful left-hander Ben Shelton, who fell for his mustachioed compatriot Jeffrey John Wolf in the 8th round just used his passport.
Quite surprisingly not even for a vacation the young 20-year-old (1.93 m, 88 kg) had never left the American motherland as he had indicated on Twitter on December 29, responding to a tweet from a Portuguese journalist “I used my passport for the first time two days ago,” said the current 89th in the world (who also sailed beyond the Top 500 until last May).
He also experienced jet lag for the first time:
Before charting his course in Melbourne, the winner of three consecutive Challengers (the 2nd division of the circuit) in November, the 20-year-old admitted to having suffered from jet lag in Adelaide (for the first time in his life) and then in Auckland (failure against Quentin Halys in 8th).
Ben Shelton will undoubtedly have discovered Europe this spring, at Roland-Garros.
He was still studying outside the “courts” of the Australian Open:
In Australia yet playing in the American style, Shelton also manages to thrill the public,with many demonstrative behaviors that do not stick too much to the profession of financial adviser if he did not break into the sport which he was destined to play in.
“It was really a very special week for me, it’s starting to do a lot. I played my first Grand Slam outside the United States and I also went back to school.”
Turned professional in August 2022, Ben Shelton has not abandoned his studies in finance, the young man tries to reconcile tennis and lessons as well as possible: “I haven’t had any exams so far so it’s fine. but it’s sure going to be fun when my exam dates conflict with my match dates.”
As he confided to the ATP site before the start of the tournament, the young player also continues to study in the evening remotely, between matches saying: “It’s really nice to have something outside of tennis that I can dive into or spend time doing, so I’m not just focused on one thing”.
American football helped him perfect his tennis career:
If he continues on his way, Ben Shelton risks having to be absent more and more from the amphitheaters. Standing 1.93m tall, the 20-year-old left-hander is characterized by a powerful serve that regularly puts his opponents in difficulty.
A power he draws from American football, his first love. Ben Shelton was a quarterback before taking up tennis when he was around 12 years old. A sport that his father, Bryan Shelton, also practiced at a high level, he notably reached 55th place in the ATP in 1992.
Son of a pro player:
To find traces of an American university tennis champion, we look at a kid who imagined a future in US football until he was 12, therefore content so far to shine at home.
The father is at the origin of the fact that Ben just took his first flight because as a teenager, he asked his father the expected time to be able to go and rub shoulders with foreign competition.
The perpetual homebody side of his son got one reply from his dad: Son, why would we go and play in another country when you’re not even the best here?, confided Shelton Jr to one magazine.
But it was also under the leadership of his father Bryan Shelton, that the son first scoured the courts of the country with his team of Florida Gators 55th at the ATP in 1992 and two years later 8th finalist at Wimbledon, then 2nd worldwide after having subdued the spectacular German Michael Stich.
His mother Lisa also shone in the juniors and the brother of his mom named Todd Witsken was 4th in doubles and was 43rd in the world in singles before dying at 34 in 1998, four years before the birth of Ben, a worthy child of the tennis ball.
An outstanding server:
Popyrin’s prophecy reads: “If he continues to play like this, the guy will be Top 10 in six months. He had dropped the Australian after his defeat against the now quarter-finalist in Melbourne. He hits the lines, he has an average second serve at 120 mph, you can’t do much to attack that second serve, and it’s even harder because he’s left-handed”
What does the young player foresee for himself you ask? He said: “The Top 30 by the end of the year, and participation in the Olympic Games next year”.