"Regardless of the time, my mother has not missed a match" - Ben Shelton delights in maiden ATP title

Ben Shelton won his maiden ATP title at the Japan Open
Ben Shelton won his maiden ATP title at the Japan Open

Ben Shelton won his maiden ATP Tour title on Sunday, beating Aslan Karatsev in the final of the 2023 Japan Open. The American needed just two sets to send Karatsev packing in Tokyo, winning 7-5, 6-1.

The victory will propel Shelton to a new career-high ranking next week, taking him from World No. 19 to a projected No. 14 (according to the live tracker.)

Speaking at the presentation ceremony afterwards, the 20-year-old was delighted by this development, stating that he was looking forward to this time of the year after having a rather poor start.

Despite reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, for Shelton the rest of the season was unremarkable until he reached the semifinals of the US Open last month. Since then, the American has gone from strength to strength, winning the Laver Cup with Team World and then reaching the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters before Tokyo.

“I was really looking forward to this time of year. I think it's a great opportunity for me. At the beginning of the season I lost at the beginning of the weeks, so I haven't played many games. I feel fresh physically. Now looking forward to returning to Europe and finishing the indoor tour strong," Shelton said.

The World No. 19 then extended his thanks to his team, thanking them for all the work they did and standing by his side even though he was difficult to deal with at times. Ben Shelton thanked his mother in particular, commenting how she watched every match he played at the Japan Open regardless of how late it was in the States when he played.

"I would like to thank my team, I feel very grateful that God has put you on my path. Thank you very much for all the work you do for me, I know that I am not easy sometimes, but I appreciate all the daily work, as hard as mine, to be at the top," Ben Shelton said.
"I would also like to thank all my family at home, who are following the tournament on television throughout the week, regardless of the time, especially my mother, who has not missed a match," he added.

Ben Shelton: "You look at the big champions, and they're able to maintain the level every week"

Japan Open Tennis
Japan Open Tennis

Ben Shelton admitted that winning his first ATP title meant a lot to him and his team, as they have been working towards that goal from the beginning. For inspiration, the 20-year-old looked to big champions of the past, marveling at how they maintained their level every week despite all the fatigue that comes with professional tennis.

“It means a lot to me and my team. We have been working very hard from the beginning to build my game and be able to win titles on the ATP circuit. It's something we've been pursuing. I've come far in tournaments lately, but you look at the big champions, and they're able to maintain the level every week, not just make it to the semi-finals," Ben Shelton said.
"I'm not saying that I'm anything close to them, but it's very special to have been able to maintain the level in the five matches here in Tokyo and win the title,” he added.

Shelton will be in action next at the Vienna Open, where he is scheduled to take on Jannik Sinner in the opener.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now