“Ben Shelton Might Win French Open”: Ex-American Top 20 Player Calls Big Serving Youngster ‘Smart’ While Making Bold Prediction

“Ben Shelton Might Win French Open”: Ex-American Top 20 Player Calls Big Serving Youngster ‘Smart’ While Making Bold Prediction

Coming into the 2024 clay swing in Europe, Ben Shelton wasn’t regarded as a threat as compared to other top players. However, a pleasantly surprising win at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships has made Shelton one of the players to look out for at the French Open 2024. And Alexandra Stevenson, the former top-20 WTA player from the United States, believes that the youngster hiring a clay specialist for moulding him to play on the surface better, is a ‘smart’ move.

Being inexperienced on clay, Shelton has shown willingness to improve. This makes Stevenson believe that even if he doesn’t win the French Open this year, he could do miracles in the future on clay as he has time on his hands.

Alexandra Stevenson is impressed with Ben Shelton for hiring Gabriel Echevarria, who is a big time in the USTA circles for his strength and conditioning coaching. Stevenson was quoted as saying in her podcast, Serving Aces

“Ben Shelton building this now, at 21, is really smart because by 28 he might win the French Open. You never know. I don’t expect him to win on clay a lot now. But, he realises that he needs to build this. So every season… is gonna make a difference.”

Stevenson isn’t entirely inaccurate with her assessment. Shelton won’t be a legit contender to lift the La Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris this year. But using the serve-and-volley strategy to his advantage, the Georgia native can improve on different aspects of his game.

In fact, even this year, Shelton could aim to make a deep run into the tournament as he would have nothing to lose with the focus being more on other players to succeed. It helps that the upcoming American player is a big fan of playing on clay, something which his predecessors weren’t.

Ben Shelton Explains What He Has Learnt About Clay So Far

Amidst the clay court season, Ben Shelton had a chat with The Athletic’s Matthew Futterman and talked about how he was adapting to the surface. The southpaw stated that clay is much more fun because the pace of the game slows down significantly.

“But for the most part, the game slows down a bit. So you have more time, which I really like. But at the same time, you gotta learn how to use that time and learn how to defend against guys who also have more time,” Shelton was quoted as saying inthe interview.

Historically, Americans haven’t been considered as strong contenders during the clay court season. While improving his skillset on clay, Shelton is also aiming to change this narrative by the end of the Roland Garros 2024.

“Americans haven’t had the best success in the clay-court season or at Roland Garros, but it’d be really cool to change that narrative,” Shelton added.

Shelton did have forgettable performances at the two ATP Masters 1000s recently. He lost in the Round of 64 in the Madrid Open 2024 & in the Round of 32 in the Italian Open 2024.

However, with Shelton agreeing to play in the Geneva Open next week, he will have one more shot at redeeming himself as he prepares for the French Open 2024.

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