Player Features

Bryan Shelton Becomes Ben's Full-Time Coach: 'He Hasn't Scratched The Surface'

Bryan speaks exclusively to about the news
June 04, 2023
Ben Shelton and his father, Bryan Shelton.
Ben Shelton and his father, Bryan Shelton. By Andrew Eichenholz

Father and son are reunited.

Former World No. 55 Bryan Shelton announced on Friday he is stepping down from his role as head men’s tennis coach at the University of Florida. Having led a women’s team (Georgia Tech, 2007) and men’s team (Florida, 2021) to national championships, he will embark on a new journey — coaching son Ben Shelton on the ATP Tour.

“The dream team is back together baby‼️” Ben wrote on Instagram. “Can’t wait to have you out on tour with me, and see what we can accomplish together.”

Bryan’s overwhelming feeling at the moment is gratitude. After his professional career, the American has become one of the most respected coaches in college tennis and even coached Ben for two years, during which the Florida Gators won the national championship as a team and Ben captured singles glory.

Now Bryan is thrilled to join his 20-year-old son on the road for his own professional journey.

“Thankful that I have another opportunity that's really exciting that's about to get started,” Bryan told “I feel like a little bit of a kid again. At this stage in life, to be able to start something new and fresh and exciting is incredible. So I think that those are the things that are probably pouring out of me right now. Just gratitude and excitement.”

According to Bryan, Ben has intimated over the past year since turning professional that he would like to one day have his father by his side.

“I think in his mind, he's always thought that ultimately, we'd be able to do this together,” Bryan said. “We started together on the court and I think we've kind of built that coach-player relationship through the years as we continue to build our own relationship as father-son. And those two kind of went side by side along the way.

“I always said, I had to put one hat on and take the other hat off, and then kind of understanding when to do both is a little bit tricky, because you hear about these stories with mother and daughter, father and son, mother and son, these stories that end up not being great stories. And so, my wife, Lisa, and I, we've really tried to have a balance with our kids and understand that they're people first before they're players.

“I think that along the way, I've put my coach hat on and to be able to do both still and for him to want me to come out there with him and help him in this area and share these experiences together, I think that speaks to the love that we have for one another and also the level of respect that we have for one another.”

You May Also Like: Inside Shelton's Transformation From Football Nut To Tennis Star

Many professional tennis players travel internationally in the juniors. But Shelton did not step outside the United States until the beginning of this season in Adelaide. The lefty also began his clay-court season having never competed on red clay. Ben played football as a kid — he was a quarterback — and did not fully focus on tennis until later on.

“Oh my goodness. That's probably one of the most exciting parts of Ben. His potential is, in my opinion, limitless, because he hasn't really scratched the surface,” Bryan said. “I just feel like he's so many hours shy of someone else his age that's playing at that level. They've logged a lot more hours, they've experienced a lot more situations on a lot more surfaces, and they've played around the globe for years prior, and he's having to catch up on those experiences.

“But where he lacks experience, he has just a passion and a desire and a work ethic and some other intangible things that have allowed him to start catching up. But there's still so much room for growth.”

Follow The Cast Of ATP Tour | Break Point

Ben has been mentored on the road by Dean Goldfine — the former coach of many stars including Aaron Krickstein, Todd Martin, Andy Roddick and Sebastian Korda — for whom Bryan expressed a lot of gratitude. But the former college coach has missed experiencing Ben’s early moments on Tour while home in Florida coaching the Gators.

“That would be 100 per cent of the time,” Bryan said when asked how often he has wished he could have been alongside his son. “I always said I wish I could have perfected that trick where you can be in two places at one time.”

Ben’s biggest breakthrough came earlier this year at the Australian Open, where he advanced to the quarter-finals on his tournament debut.

“You want to be there for those those big firsts in your life and your kids' lives,” Bryan said. “To miss that one was pretty tough, but just so happy for him and for how he's handled himself and everything else. So we're very proud at the same time and to see him be able to do that with the help of others out there with them was very rewarding as well.”

Ben summed up his father’s impact on the world of college tennis.

“This isn’t a career that’s defined by championships and accolades, but by the people impacted and lives changed,” Ben wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Read More News View All News

View Related Videos View All Videos


Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store

Premier Partner

Platinum Partners

Gold Partners

Official Ball, Racquet and Tennis Accessory

Official Partners & Suppliers