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Coach father Bryan Shelton in an interview: “Ben treats everyone with respect”

Tokyo champion Ben Shelton is taking part in the Erste Bank Open 2023 today against Jannik Sinner (live from 5:30 p.m. on ServusTV and in our live ticker). Coach father Bryan Shelton is completely satisfied after the successful last few weeks, as he said in an interview with tennisnet explains.

by Jens Huiber
last edit: Oct 25, 2023, 08:40 am

Ben and Bryan Shelton at Wimbledon in summer 2023
© Getty Images
Ben and Bryan Shelton at Wimbledon in summer 2023

The Center Court in the Wiener Stadthalle, it's just before twelve o'clock on Tuesday, and the change of training pairs is about to begin. Ben Shelton quickly slices a few backhands with Emil Ruusuvuori. Then Andrey Rublev, Alexei Popyrin and Dan Evans come onto the court - and everyone is greeted by Ben Shelton and father Bryan with a handshake and a smile that no one can resist.


Afterwards, father and son Shelton spend a few minutes observing the competition in training until Ben finally heads off towards the locker room. Bryan though. The ex-professional, who won a single title on the ATP tour, takes a few minutes to chat.

Mr Shelton. How was the journey from Tokyo here to Vienna?

Bryan Shelton: It was a long trip. Eleven hours from Tokyo to Doha, then another five hours to Vienna. I slept terribly last night. Ben, on the other hand, is extremely good. And the most important thing is that he feels good.

How important was this very first tournament win for Ben?

That was certainly one of our goals for him this year. The fact that he managed to do that in Tokyo in front of the Japanese fans is great. Because he also represents YONEX. That was really special. But it's just so difficult to win on the ATP tour. There are so many good players. Ben had so many difficult matches, he could have lost three or four times. But he found ways to do it. I'm just really proud of his resilience.

Now your son is currently number 14 in the world. Was that also a goal?

We didn’t actually have a real ranking goal. It was more about becoming a little more professional every day in the first year on the tour. Improve all aspects of the game. We wanted to focus on that. And not about chasing points and specific ranking positions. Hopefully it will be a very long journey for Ben. And you have to enjoy the big moments. And don't worry about the following week straight away. When you play, you should be completely present.

Ben dealt with his emotions more sparingly in Tokyo than at the US Open. Was that planned?

Ben wanted to experiment with it a little. That he maintains his focus in a quieter way. Just playing every point and not showing too much emotion. For me he did a good job. But I don't think he was completely himself. And I would like to see his smile a little more often. But he handled the situation very well and solved all the problems extremely well. I was also very impressed by the adjustments from match to match in different conditions.

Bryan Shelton - “Don’t let Ben make the same mistakes I did”

What about the social component? Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul, for example, have known each other forever. Who does Ben get along particularly well with?

Ben gets along very well with all American players. But honestly: he has found friends in all countries. He just likes people. There are also a lot of doubles players here who Ben is good friends with. He doesn't meet any strangers on the tour. He treats everyone with respect. And I love that.

From your own experience: What places on the ATP tour did you really want to show Ben? Is Vienna part of this? Have you ever played here?

No! But we have marked Vienna heavily on the calendar. It's such an exciting place. Just like Tokyo. When you look at history here in Vienna. It doesn't take long to realize the beauty of this city. In my day, I was too focused on tennis and never took the time. And that's what I've decided for Ben: that he doesn't make the same mistake I made back then. We have opportunities that not many people get. You have to notice them and explore these beautiful cities.


Here is the individual tableau in Vienna


by Jens Huiber

Oct 25, 2023, 07:58 am
last edit: Oct 25, 2023, 08:40 am