Ben Shelton shares trait that he learned from idol Rafael Nadal

Shelton, 21, is quickly establishing himself as one of the better players on the Tour.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ben Shelton shares trait that he learned from idol Rafael Nadal
© Getty Images Sport - Lintao Zhang

Ben Shelton, 21, reveals Rafael Nadal is to credit for his fighting spirit as he used to look up to the Spaniard and learn from him in that aspect. Shelton, one of the most talented and promising players on the ATP Tour, is always bringing energy and passion to his matches.

Last week, Shelton's great 2023 season got a new chapter after the 21-year-old won his first ATP title in Tokyo. Following his Tokyo win, Shelton also reached a career-high ranking of No 15 in the world. "The guy that I looked up to was Rafael Nadal.

I think at times on the court, the way that I love to fight, that I don’t give up, could be some traits that I saw or learned from Rafa growing up. He was one of those guys who replicated it every match, every tournament.

You could only hope to have a fighting spirit like him," Shelton said of Nadal.

Shelton's fighting spirit was inspired by Nadal

Shortly after reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open, Shelton also lifted his first ATP title.

On Sunday, Shelton defeated Aslan Karatsev 7-5 6-1 in the Tokyo final. Shelton, who officially turned pro just over a year ago, was thrilled by his latest success. "That meant a lot to me and my team. We have been working really hard since the beginning to build my game and win titles on the ATP Tour.

I made some deep runs lately. You see the great champions, they finish weeks off. They win titles, they don't just get to finals. They are able to maintain their level throughout the week. I am not saying I am anywhere there yet, but to be able to do it for one week, put together five matches in a row in Tokyo is really special," Shelton said. This week, Shelton is making his debut at an ATP 500 event in Vienna.

Ben Shelton Rafael Nadal