Eighteen months ago, Ben Shelton was the No. 5 singles player for the University of Florida’s men’s tennis team. At that time, he did not own a Pepperstone ATP Ranking.
Now the 20-year-old is one of the Top 100 players in the world. Shelton climbed to a career-high World No. 97 on Monday.
“It’s definitely gone quick,” Shelton said. “I’m going to take this offseason and slow down a bit, enjoy myself, and also focus on some things I can improve.”
Shelton completed a tremendous three-week run on Sunday when he defeated Australian Aleksandar Vukic to win the ATP Challenger Tour event in Champaign, Illinois. The lefty became the youngest player in Challenger history to lift three trophies in as many weeks, having also emerged victorious in Charlottesville, Virginia and Knoxville, Tennessee.
“I feel pretty lucky, I didn’t expect to play 15 matches in three weeks and my body held up,” Shelton said. “It’s encouraging to me that I can play this many matches and be alright.”
Shelton won the NCAA Singles title in May and has not looked back since. He tallied a 35-8 record on the ATP Challenger Tour, winning three titles and making three additional finals.
The son of former World No. 55 Bryan Shelton also distinguished himself at tour-level events. In July, he battled John Isner to a final-set tie-break in Atlanta, before stunning Lorenzo Sonego and then-World No. 5 Casper Ruud at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati. Ahead of the US Open, the lefty turned professional.
Shelton, who began the season outside the world’s Top 550, has climbed more spots than anyone currently inside the Top 100. He does not have any Pepperstone ATP Ranking points to defend until June and is the youngest of 13 Americans in the Top 100.