Shelton Becomes First American No. 1 Left-Handed Player Since John McEnroe

Shelton Becomes First American No. 1 Left-Handed Player Since John McEnroe

by Zachary Wimer

Ben Shelton was always backed to eventually become the American No. 1 in his career, but he achieved it very quickly, maybe even sooner than expected.

When the American broke out at the Australian Open last year, many assumed that he would eventually become America's number one. He had the talent, and he seemed to enjoy the big moments enough for many to make that assumption.

All of them would be right because Shelton did become the country's number one, though many probably didn't assume that it would happen so quickly. Shelton is the best-ranked player from the United States right now, and it came after a sequence of events.

The overwhelming majority of the credit goes to him and his tremendous performances in the past year, especially at the end of last year. The triumph in Houston only gave him a boost, but the other side of the coin was the below-average play of Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe.

None of them has really played all too well recently, and as a result, they dropped in the rankings, giving the fellow American chance to take the No. 1 spot.

That and an early exit in Monte-Carlo allowed Shelton to overtake him as the best-ranked American on the ATP Tour. Shelton is now ranked number 14 in the world and is the top-ranked American, ahead of Fritz, who is 15th, and Tommy Paul, who is 16th.

By becoming the American no. 1, Shelton also joined legendary company, as only two other left-handed players reach that spot in the United States.

The first one was legendary Jimmy Connors, and the second one was another legend, John McEnroe, who last held the spot in February 1990, and Shelton became the first lefty since then to be the American No. 1 tennis player on the ATP Tour.


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