Ben Shelton: "When I started playing tennis, I did not like it that much" - UBITENNIS
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Ben Shelton: “When I started playing tennis, I did not like it that much”

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Ben Shelton was ranked outside the top 500 in May 2022. The US player came to the fore when he beat Roland Garros finalist Casper Ruud in Cincinnati in August 2022. He won three Challenger titles in November 2022 to secure a spot in the Australian Open. 

Shelton climbed to world number 35 in the ATP Ranking after reaching the quarter final of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career at the Australian Open last January. The former Florida Gator athlete became the first US player to advance to a Grand Slam quarter final since Andy Roddick at the 2002 US Open. 

At the US Open Shelton beat his compatriots Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe to advance to his first Grand Slam semifinal in his fifth appearance at a Majors tournament before losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in three sets. 

Shelton reached the quarter finals of a Masters 1000 for the first time at the Shanghai Rolex Masters beating Jannik Sinner, achieving the biggest win of his career. Shelton won his first ATP title in Tokyo beating Aslan Karatsev in the final and helped Team World win its second straight Laver Cup title in Vancouver. 

Shelton inherited his passion for tennis from his father Bryan Shelton, a former professional tennis player and Florida Gators men’s tennis coach. His mother Lisa Witsken Shelton was a highly-ranked junior tennis player. His uncle Todd Witsken was a professional tennis player. His sister Emma played college tennis at Florida. 

“I saw my sister. She was getting to play all the tournaments travelling to all these different places. I was like: ‘She can get out of school to play sports, travel, and stay in hotels”, recalls Shelton to website On-Running.

Shelton was born in Atlanta (Georgia), as his father was the coach of the Georgia Tech’s women’s tennis team. Shelton’s passion for tennis began from his desire to study less and play more. 

“When I started playing tennis, I did not like that much. Before tennis my first love was American Football”. 

Shelton made his first trip outside the United States last January to play the Australian Open. 

“I think one of biggest surprises for me is how huge tennis is overseas. It’s not even one of the top three top sports in the United States. The Australian people really started to cheer for me as one of their own as I went deeper and deeper in the tournament. It’s crazy. I am so far from home, but people know how I am”, said Shelton. 

Shelton looks back the times when he played tennis in college. 

“Playing tennis in college felt like a different game. It’s the only time in your life that you have a long-term team in tennis. It’s an individual sport and can be a lonely sport, but in college I had 10 or 11 teammates that were my best friends. I keep in touch with them all, but now I have three or four peole that I am really close with. I don’t get to see them all the time, but it makes it more fun when I do. Often we just hang out at my apartment or go to the movie theater because it does not take any energy. I love movie theater slushes and popcorn. I was not a typical college student. I tried to keep partying to a minimum. Every once in a while I like to go out, see people and do different things, but on a normal day, I am just fine staying inside. I don’t like going to overcrowded, loud places. I have never been to a concert in my life”. 

Shelton is aggressive on the court, but he is humble and shy at times. 

“I know I am not perfect. I have flaws and a lot to improve, but that’s what keeps me working. I can’t do great things in this things in this game if I don’t work as hard, or harder than everyone out there. I am a copetitor. I want to win every match. I want to destroy whoever is on the other side of the net”, said Shelton. 

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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