There are new kids on the block! One exciting player to keep your eyes on is Ben Shelton. He has been doing well on the Challenger Tour.
Who is Ben Shelton?
Ben Shelton is a 19-year-old leftie from Atlanta, Georgia, who is an exciting player to watch with big power. He pushed John Isner to three tight sets in Atlanta last month, and it made Isner say this:
“He’s an incredible talent. I watched him play a year-and-a-half ago in college and saw how athletic and talented he is,” Isner said. “I’m going to be a big fan of his in the future… Truthfully, I don’t see myself beating him anytime in the future. I hope I don’t have to play him again.”
Shelton is currently in his second Challenger final playing Roman Safiullin. You can see some highlights from his semi-final against Gijs Brouwer below.
He is in his second final, but he has already played four semi-finals on the Challenger Tour. Playing challengers makes you ready for the top level of the tour. This is what Ben had to say about it:
” (The Challenger Tour) allows you to see tennis from guys who are playing at a Top 100 level. It’s a lot of different types of competition and it sets you up for playing on the ATP Tour. It’s a really good stepping stone and the level isn’t that far off from ATP.”
Coached by his father
Ben’s father is Bryan Shelton, a former world nr 55 and a head coach of the University of Florida tennis team.
Ben has received wild cards for the ATP Masters event in Cincinnati and the US Open. Judging by his recent performance on the Challenger tour, I don’t think any player goes safe if they get in Shelton’s path.
Ben Shelton is using a Yonex VCORE Pro 97 HD strung with a red polyester that could be Solinco Outlast (same like Brooksby). He has not gotten the new Yonex VCORE Pro 97D 2021 design for his racquets yet, but maybe in time for the US Open! 🙂
It will be interesting to follow Ben in his upcoming tournaments!