In emphatic fashion, the 6-4 American has officially arrived with a game and a personality that has seemingly unlimited potential.
Ben Shelton won’t be old enough to buy the US Open’s signature Honey Deuce cocktail until he turns 21 on Oct. 9. But at such a young age, the former NCAA singles champion, when he competed at the University of Florida coached by his father Bryan, has all the tools necessary to become the next great American male tennis superstar.
The 6-foot-4 Atlanta native is very much part of the trend where serve-and-volley players are now back in style, a movement spearheaded by Spanish world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
Shelton’s serve not only reached 149 miles per hour in a Round of 16 win over fellow American and 14th seed Tommy Paul on Sunday, but he also has the variety of different speeds and angles to steamroll opponents on serve. He uses his speed and agility to aid a confident net game and a loud, boisterous bounce in his step, demonstrably celebrating big points with a fist pump or an emphatic “Let’s go!”
Since Boardroom’s Kenny Ducey wrote about Shelton’s Australian Open quarterfinal run in January, he struggled on other surfaces and still needs to adjust to the rigors and grind of a global ATP Tour, failing to get past the second round at the French Open, Wimbledon, or any of the seven non-major tournaments he competed in this year. But the lefty’s thrived in the Grand Slam bookends this season, dispatching and outwilling American and world No. 10 Francis Tiafoe in four sets Tuesday on a hot, sticky late night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Despite still playing in relatively few tournaments per year as of yet, Shelton will earn at least $775,000 for his semifinal run, with a chance to at least double that if he can beat Djokovic. Let’s take a closer look at the phenom with the most potential of any current American male player as he looks to become the first American men’s player to win a grand slam since Andy Roddick in 2003.
The Shelton Brand
- Age: 20
- Nationality: American
- Height: 6 feet, 4 inches
- Weight: 194 lbs
- Career prize money: $1,232,390 (singles), $193,098 (doubles)
- Key endorsements: On, Yonex
- Instagram followers: 257,000 (surely to grow with a nationally televised semifinal match against one of the best in the world)
Will Shelton’s US Open run help him bring in more sponsors and endorsement deals? He has the likability and marketability, which would only improve once he starts to get more consistency throughout each tournament he plays in. For now, it seems like Shelton boasts an untapped and underutilized brand that could quickly explode in popularity.
Professional singles record: 20-23
ATP World Ranking: 47
Career-high ranking: 35
Grand Slams: None
ATP Titles: None
ATP Challenger Titles: Champaign (2021, 2022), Knoxville (2022), Charlottesville (2022).
Additional honors: NCAA singles champion (2022), ITA National Player of the Year (2022), SEC Player of the Year (2022)
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