19-year-old Ben Shelton “excited for the journey” and makes rapid strides even though he knows he’s “not going to be there right away”

The son of former world No 55 Bryan Shelton, 19-year-old Ben has scored the first top 5 win of his career on Wednesday

Ben Shelton, Cincinnati 2022 Ben Shelton, Cincinnati 2022 – © Tennis TV

American teen Ben Shelton has made rapid strides over the course of the 2022 tennis season. The 19-year-old has already jumped from No 573 in the beginning of January to No 229 this week and is projected to move to inside the top 175 next week after reaching the third round of the ongoing Cincinnati Masters.

On Wednesday, Shelton scored his first ever top 5 win as he defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets – another big step for the reigning NCAA champion. And the American says he is excited about the journey ahead even though he knows he is not going to make it to the top right away.

“It’s going to take a little bit of a while to get there and it’s not going to be an exact science, and there is going to be adjustments that I have to make over the next few years. I’m excited for the journey, and I know that I’m not going to be there right away,” Shelton said.

Ben Shelton may be a newcomer on the ATP Tour but the left-hander is very familiar with the sport. His father, Bryan Shelton, was a former world No 55 with two top 5 wins in his career, who has helped his son become more process-driven rather than results-oriented.

“I think from growing up, they (Note: former pros) know kind of what it takes to make it. They know that there is not a quick fix to making it on tour, that it’s a long process. There is a lot of things growing up, hard things that you can skip if you deal with the right way. I see that a lot of the former pros are more processed-based rather than quick results. I think that’s one thing that former pros or at least my dad in my experience has taught me, to trust the process and don’t be looking for quick, good results. It’s cool that I have a former pro who’s my dad to look up to when I’m going through these things,” Shelton added.

The American, who next takes on ninth seed Cameron Norrie, may be left-handed but says his favourite player while growing up with Roger Federer, whom he described as a good role model on and off the court.

“I definitely looked up to Fed. (Rafael ) Nadal is the clear choice because I’m a lefty, as well. I liked kind of the classiness of Fed, the aura around him and the way he carries himself on court in victory and defeat. He was kind of like a good role model on the court, off the court, how he handled the press, just a class act. I definitely enjoyed watching him play tennis growing up.”

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