Ben Shelton has had a breakout year. He made it to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, and now, plays in his first U.S. Open quarterfinals tonight against fellow American Frances Tiafoe. Eagle-eyed viewers of the U.S. Open will notice in Shelton's player's box is his dad and coach, Bryan Shelton.
He has strong tennis genes: Both his dad, Bryan, and his mom, Lisa Witsken Shelton, played tennis. "We kid around, like which genes is Ben playing with, the Shelton genes or the Witsken genes?" Bryan Shelton told the New York Times. "He’s got some good blood running through him, that’s for sure."
Here, get to know Ben's parents Bryan and Lisa Shelton.
Meet Ben Shelton's dad, Bryan:
Bryan, 57, was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. After playing tennis in high school, he played for Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, and won numerous awards as a college player. After graduating in 1989, he played professionally, reaching a career high of no. 55. He retired in 1997, and began a career as a tennis coach.
He returned to his alma mater Georgia Tech, where he coached the Yellow Jackets women's team from 1999 through 2012, then the University of Florida men's team from 2012 through 2023. He became the first coach to win a Division I NCAA women's and men's national championship. Before Ben turned pro, he played tennis for the Florida Gators, coached by his dad.
Bryan stepped down in June to focus on coaching his son, Ben, full time. When he retired, Ben wrote on Instagram, "My dad retired from collegiate coaching today. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished in your 24 years out there. This isn’t a career that’s defined by championships and accolades, but by the people impacted and lives changed. You showed up to work every day and gave a perfect effort. You did things with character and humility no matter the situation. You’ve kept your faith wherever your life has taken you, and always put your family first. There isn’t a better role model for young men trying to find their way in life. The Gator Nation may have suffered a blow with this one, but we always bounce back. 🧡💙 That being said, the dream team is back together baby‼️ Can’t wait to have you out on tour with me, and see what we can accomplish together 🤞🏽🐐"
Meet Ben Shelton's mom, Lisa:
Lisa Shelton (née Witsken), grew up in Carmel, Indiana; she was one of eight siblings. She also played tennis, though not on the same level as Bryan. Per the New York Times, Lisa "was also an accomplished junior player and is the sister of the former world No. 4 doubles and No. 43 singles player Todd Witsken." Tragically, Todd died at age 34 from brain cancer.
Lisa and Bryan married in October 1999. The Sheltons live in Florida, and Ben has one sister, Emma, who also plays tennis.
Here's a snap of the Sheltons from January 2020:
It’s a family thing. 🤜🤛
The Shelton squad is going home with champion & finalist trophies. pic.twitter.com/K5KS6qD0wZ
— USTA (@usta) January 3, 2020
Lisa now works as a real estate agent.
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