It was just this past May when former Florida standout, Ben Shelton, was lifting the NCAA National Singles Title in Champaign, Illinois for what marked the conclusion of his remarkable collegiate career and the beginning of his flourishing professional career.
As one of the most promising American junior tennis players, Shelton decided to take the collegiate pathway after high school, committing, and ultimately signing with the University of Florida where his dad Bryan Shelton serves as the head coach.
Jumping into big moments immediately with the Gators, Shelton helped lead Florida to the NCAA National Championship in his freshman season, ultimately clinching the match to secure the Gators first NCAA Team National Championship in program history.
Not satisfied with this success, Shelton continued to elevate his play over the Summer of 2021 and entered his Sophomore season as one of the top players in all of college tennis. After winning the ITA Men’s All-American Championship in the fall, Shelton would show no signs of slowing down in the spring, wrapping up his collegiate career in impressive fashion.
After earning the No. 1 Singles Ranking in the ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings on March 9th, Shelton would go on to be named the SEC Player of the Year, an ITA All-American in both Singles and Doubles, as well as the ITA National Player of the Year in the spring after winning the NCAA Singles Championship.
Deciding to officially turn pro just days before he was set to compete in the 2022 US Open, Shelton had already begun his accelerated rise up the ATP Rankings after some impressive results across multiple ATP Challenger and Masters level events across the United States over the summer.
Earning two Top-100 wins at the Western and Southern Open, including a win over No. 5 Casper Rudd, Shelton would officially begin his professional career ranked No. 171 in the world and has only climbed up the rankings since then.
In six ATP Challenger events since his US Open debut, Shelton has reached the Finals in four of these six events, including winning his last three ATP Challenger events in Charlottesville, Knoxville, and Champaign to conclude his 2022 season.
At just 20 years old, Shelton is the youngest player in history to win three consecutive ATP Challenger Titles and is set to break the Top 100 of the ATP Singles Rankings for the first time in his young career.
This impressive summer and fall for Shelton has also set him up for success in the upcoming year as he has already earned a Wild Card into the 2023 Australian Open where he will continue to show his skill against the top talent from around the world.
Shelton serves as a shining example of the talent playing at the collegiate level as college tennis continues to prove as an extraordinary pathway to the professional tour for many of the top players from across the country.
Congratulations to Ben, his family, and his team. I have known Ben and his family for many years. They are great ambassadors to tennis and are honest, kind, humble, and hard working. He and they deserve all that they have accomplished. I am proud to call them friends.
Couldn’t have said it any better Mr. Zapp! He always had the passion and drew a crowd even in the juniors. We are having great fun following his progress. My favorite moment so far was watching father, watch son, win the National Championship for FL. I suspect there’s much more to come!