"Ben Shelton is a dog; he is a pitbull" - Serena Williams' ex-coach Rick Macci dissects American's capabilities

Ben Shelton turned pro in August 2022
Ben Shelton turned pro in August 2022

Serena Williams’ ex-coach Rick Macci recently extolled the capabilities of the up-and-coming American Ben Shelton.

Ben Shelton has taken the tennis world by storm in the recent months. Within a year of turning pro, the 21-year-old has already made his mark on the big stages.

Macci spoke highly of Shelton, especially praising his monstrous serving and forehand skills.

"The Florida Gator with the great serve; the lefty – Ben Shelton," Macci said in a video on his Instagram page. "The guy has a bomb; he can really hit spots. I really like his creativity in the forehand. The backhand needs to stabilize a little bit. That’s heading in the right direction."

Rick Macci also acknowledged Shelton’s father, Bryan, a former tennis player who recently quit his job as the head coach of the Florida Gators men's tennis team to become the 21-year-old’s full-time coach.

“His dad was a great player,” Macci said.

The veteran coach further hailed Ben Shelton as a force to be reckoned with. He opined that the young American will have a promising future once he gets more experience and becomes consistent. Macci also acknowledged Shelton's fearless on-court mentality.

"As he gets more experience, he is going to be a force – and he gets more consistent," Macci said. "What I like more that anything [is that] he is a dog – not a poodle, he is a Pitbull. I like his mentality; lot of upsides. Listen, this guy is not going anywhere and it’s a great thing for American tennis."

Ben Shelton's 2023 season highlights so far

Ben Shelton at the 2023 Shanghai Masters
Ben Shelton at the 2023 Shanghai Masters

Earlier this year, Ben Shelton took a trip outside the United States for the very first time in his life to contest the Australian Open. The American stunned the tennis community as he reached the quarterfinals of the tournament on debut. At this stage, he bowed out against compatriot Tommy Paul.

Shelton then briefly struggled with his form, having never played a match on the clay and grass courts. He was unable to string two wins together. During the ongoing hardcourt swing, however, the American has managed to revive his campaign.

Just months after reaching his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final in Melbourne, Shelton did one better and made his Major semifinals debut at the US Open, falling short against eventual champion Novak Djokovic this time around. Following his US Open run, the young American reached a career-high ranking of World No. 19.

He also had a Masters 1000 breakthrough at the ongoing Shanghai Masters as he made his maiden final eight appearance in the category. En route, he earned his career’s second top-5 win when he defeated an in-form Jannik Sinner in the Round of 16. His campaign was, however, halted by compatriot Sebastian Korda in the quarterfinals.

The World No. 20, who is pursuit of his maiden tour-level title, will now try his luck at the ATP 500 in Tokyo.

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Edited by Shubham Banerjee
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