"I'm not a tourist, I'm ready to compete against anyone" - Shelton eyes tennis Mt. Olympus

"I'm not a tourist, I'm ready to compete against anyone" - Shelton eyes tennis Mt. Olympus

by Alfredo Bassanelli

Last updated

Ben Shelton is very much a one-hit wonder right now with one major tennis result but the American doesn't plan to be a pedestrian in tennis history.

He plans to make it to the top, writing his name among the titans residing in the sport's Mount Olympus. His story started many years ago but for most tennis fans it began late last year. A couple of consecutive challenger trophies propelled him into the top 100. He's played on the ATP Tour in the months prior but didn't shine as brightly.

The youngster went supernova in Melbourne where he served a plate full of aces round after round becoming a very bright star in the tennis universe. Will he rest on his laurels? Nope. He penned an essay for Eurosport Player's voice explaining that he already put the Australian Open in the rear-view window.

I was at home for a couple of weeks after the Australian Open, for some much-needed time off. I got a chance to enjoy my Australian Open run, look back on it and kind of move past it and look towards these next few tournaments. I'm really excited for what is to come for the rest of the year.

Shelton for Eurosport's player's voice

Spending time at home was good for Shelton as he was excited about getting a few days off. It was a gift from his dad whom Shelton called a 'great tennis mind'. The father was more than a father figure for much of his life. He was the person who guided him through his tennis journey and evidence says he did a darn good job.

He is happy with a lot of the things that I was doing on court. I think he would have liked me to come to serve and volley a little more and to really take my chances to approach and attack, rather than playing so much from the baseline - which I agree with.

Shelton on his father

Shelton senior advised his son to improve his fitness and it's good advice. Being young only gets you so far in tennis as he saw firsthand how a grand slam differs from a best-of-three match. 'Different ballgame' Shelton calls it. A propensity for showmanship earned him comparisons with fan favourites Monfils and Kyrgios yet he doesn't see it that way.

Nick Kyrgios or Gael Monfils are not references for me in this respect. I don't think I am trying to be a showman. I'm just trying to compete at the highest level, whatever that may be. I'm not out there to try to be this ‘showy guy’ who is doing trick shots. I'm really focused on my tennis and trying to compete at the highest level. So I would say the guy in that aspect that I looked up to was Rafael Nadal. Even though we have different ways of expressing ourselves on court.

Shelton picks Nadal as a role model

The list of things he wants to achieve in the sport is long. Like for many, his list includes the typical starter pack 'I would like to face Rafa or maybe Novak this year'. It's high on his bucket list according to Shelton who doesn't want to be known as a tourist in the sport. The Australian Open run won't be a one-hit-wonder because a result like that only reinforced what he knew already - he's here to stay.

I am not a tourist when I am at these tournaments. So I'm pretty confident in where I'm at, who I am as a person - not just a tennis player - and I'm ready to compete against anybody.

Shelton highlights his fearless nature

Shelton recently got his passport and in his own words he plans to put it to good use. Europe will be his home after the Sunshine double with Monte-Carlo his first stop. He's excited for the challenge but he's going there with a clear plan. A big goal would be to fly the star-spangled banner high among the best of the best. He wants Paris next year.

I think that something I really want to do is go to Paris next year for the 2024 Olympics. I am a fan of a lot of sports outside of tennis, and to be able to be in an atmosphere like that with a lot of elite athletes from all different disciplines, I think that would be a really cool experience, apart from the legacy that the Olympics has.

Shelton on his dream

To get there he'll need to improve, a lot. That's the plan. Rankings don't motivate him much. He wants simply to be better and the rest will come with it.


You may also like