Rafael Nadal described Abdullah Shelbayh as "a very special talent" and wished the rising Jordanian tennis star all the luck at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Jeddah. After recently winning his first Challenger title in Charleston, Shelbayh was also given a wildcard for the Next Gen ATP Finals, making him the first Jordanian to feature in the event.
Shelbayh, who turned 20 on November 16th, clinched his first two ATP wins this year and he is now also enjoying a career-high ranking of No 185 in the world. Shelbayh trains at Rafael Nadal's academy and the 22-time Grand Slam champion has had a chance to take a closer look at the promising Jordanian's game and his approach to tennis.
Nadal on Shelbayh. Capable of doing things that most can't
“To describe Abdullah, you have to analyse his talent. I think he’s a player with a very special innate talent, capable of doing things that most can’t.
With his style of play, it makes opponents feel very uncomfortable. I know because I’ve trained with him a number of times. And he’s added something very important to that: In the last year and a half he has taken a step forward in the way he experiences tennis.
Really, he has realised that what he wants is to be a professional tennis player and he is working very hard toward that. I can only congratulate him for his dedication and for his hard work and encourage him to continue on that road.
He’s had a very positive season, picking up good results, and has climbed up the rankings. Now an amazing moment is coming up for him, playing in the Next Gen ATP Finals. I’d like to wish him all the luck in the world.
I’m sure it’ll be a very special tournament for him," Nadal told ATP' Tour en Espanol, as quoted on the Next Gen ATP Finals website. At the next Gen ATP Finals, Shelbayh will be looking to cap off his breakthrough 2023 season on a high note. It remains to be seen how well can Shelbayh do in Jeddah this week.