Up-and-coming American Ben Shelton, 19, revealed that growing up he admired Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Shelton is one of America’s most promising talents as he has reached two Challenger finals this summer, as well as the round of 16 at the Cincinnati Masters.
Growing up, Shelton looked up to Federer in many ways as he felt the Swiss was the perfect example of how one should behave on and off the court. “He definitely looked up to Federer. Nadal is the clear choice because I am also left-handed.
I liked the class of Fed, the aura around him and the way he carries himself on the court in win and loss,” Shelton said, according to Sportskeeda. “He was 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.»
Shelton on bothering Casper Ruud
After upsetting Lorenzo Sonego in the Cincinnati first round, Shelton cruised to a stunning 6-3, 6-3 win over fifth-ranked Ruud in his next match.
Shelton admitted he was a little nervous at the start of the game because he was playing a top-5 player, but he did his best not to show it. “I think you have to fake it until you make it, right? If I’m not completely comfortable at first, I’ll do my best to prove that I am until I’m in a place where it’s installed.
Once I got to the second set today, I was barely thinking about it. I was just trying to play my game and execute my game plan. It gets easier for me the more I’m in these situations, lowering my heart rate and feeling calmer on the court,” Shelton reflected.
Shelton is currently the 229th ranked player in the world and is set to break into the top 200 next Monday. Shelton is still listed in college because he hasn’t turned pro yet.