With Title Win In Tokyo, Shelton Leads U.S. Men In Olympics Race Qualification

With Title Win In Tokyo, Shelton Leads U.S. Men In Olympics Race Qualification

by Nurein Ahmed

Ben Shelton won his first ATP Tour title at the 2023 Japan Open, but that was only half the story of a rollercoaster week for the 21-year-old.

Shelton outplayed Aslan Karatsev in his maiden ATP final with a combination of power and panache. He won 80% first-serve points, and his aggressive return helped him convert four of six break points.

Despite the Russian's strong and steady serving performance this week, he could not keep up with the high-intensity tennis that Shelton brought to the court.

Shelton's title win in Tokyo is expected to be the first of many, with the former collegiate tennis player putting a capstone to his breakout year on the ATP Tour on Sunday. He is projected to rise to World No. 14, a career-high when the new rankings are updated on Monday.

Having qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals, Shelton has now eclipsed some of his higher-ranked countrymen in the Olympics Race qualification. It is still early days, but the 21-year-old has started to set an early pace over World No. 10 Taylor Fritz (current USA No. 1).

With his title win in Tokyo, Shelton adds 500 points in the Olympics Race, taking his tally to 1,580 points, and leads the likes of Fritz (second-placed with 1,285 points), Tommy Paul (third-placed with 1,180 points), and Sebastian Korda (fourth-placed with 945 points).

The 2024 Olympic tennis tournament is scheduled to commence on July 27, 2024, and will run till August 4, 2024, at the iconic Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The singles tennis event will be contested by 64 players, 56 of whom will qualify based on actual rankings on June 12, 2024.

One nation can be represented by a maximum of four singles players who are the best ranked for their respective country. A lot could happen between now and June 12, 2024, which is the deadline for rankings submission, but Shelton is in the ascendancy among the American men.


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