"Goal is not to be ahead of Ben Shelton or Frances Tiafoe, it’s to be at the top" – Tommy Paul on becoming the second-best American after Taylor Fritz

Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton (top inset), Frances Tiafoe (bottom inset)
Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton (top inset), Frances Tiafoe (bottom inset)

Tommy Paul recently overtook Frances Tiafoe in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday, February 12. This makes him the second-highest-ranked American after Taylor Fritz in the world rankings.

Paul's rise to the World No. 14 spot was confirmed following his win over Ben Shelton on Saturday in the semifinal of the Dallas Open 2024. He dethroned compatriot Tiafoe, who now sits in 15th place. Fritz continues to lead the American pack as the World No. 1 whereas the World No. 16 Ben Shelton is fourth in the all-American tally.

Paul appeared for a press conference after dispatching Shelton 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 20 minutes in Dallas and talked about the ranking update. He stated that his ultimate objective is to be better than everybody on the men's circuit and not just his compatriots, including Shelton or Tiafoe. He said (at 1:50):

"I think we’re all pretty aware of our rankings and where we sit in the American race. But I don’t like…, all of our goals are to win tournaments and get in the Top 10 or get in the Top 5 or win big tournaments.
"I mean that’s the goal for me, I’m not speaking for everybody, But for me, it [the goal] is not to be ahead of Ben, or not to be ahead of Tiafoe. It’s to be at the top of the game, be up there playing those guys in the finals of the biggest tournaments. That’s the biggest thing for me."

Moreover, Tommy Paul capped off the week with more success as he lifted the Dallas Open trophy. He defeated Marcus Giron 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-3 in a hard-fought final that lasted for two hours and 33 minutes.

Tommy Paul tied with Ben Shelton, leads Frances Tiafoe in respective head-to-head records

Tommy Paul
Tommy Paul

Tommy Paul is currently tied with Ben Shelton at 2-2 and leads Frances Tiafoe 2-1 in their respective head-to-head records.

Paul secured a win over Shelton in their first-ever clash that took place in the 2023 Australian Open quarterfinals. Shelton, however, responded strongly with two back-to-back wins at the US Open and Japan Open later that year. Paul leveled the one-on-one tally with his win on Saturday at the Dallas Open 2024.

On the other hand, Paul played against Frances Tiafoe for the first time in 2020 in a Round-of-16 match at Delray Beach Open. Tiafoe drew the first blood by registering a 7-5, 7-6(4) win. Their next meetings took place in the 2021 Stockholm Open semifinals and the Round of 32 at Adelaide 2 a year later — both won by the new World No. 14.