Player Features

Shelbayh's Dream Job If It Weren't For Tennis...

The 20-year-old is competing in Jeddah
November 28, 2023
Abdullah Shelbayh is at a career-high World No. 185 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Abdullah Shelbayh is at a career-high World No. 185 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. By ATP Staff

Abdullah Shelbayh became the first Jordanian to win a main-draw ATP Tour match in April and has since continued his rapid rise. In September, he won his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Charleston, South Carolina to become the youngest player from an Arab country to win a title at that level.

But what is the 20-year-old like off-court? caught up with the World No. 185 in Jeddah to discuss his dream job, which football team he supports, what lessons he's learned early in his career and more...

What is the most interesting thing that you have done in your life?
I think that the royal connection has helped me change my life in some way, Princess Lara [a member of the Jordanian royal family]. I count her as my family. I see her more than my family. I talk to her as much as I talk to my family. I think that's an interesting part about me because I think not many people have that kind of connection. I'm able to travel with her a lot as well.

What's a perfect day for you if you're not playing tennis?
Wake up, no breakfast, just turn on the PS5 and play some FIFA and Call of Duty.

Why no breakfast?
I don't know, because then you're more hungry for lunch. Then you can order some sushi straight to your room. Then I would say that I'll get a bit bored of that and I'll spend some time with my friends, play a football match. Then go out for dinner.

What are the biggest lessons that you've learned since playing on Tour?
Not play football before a tournament. Three or four years ago, I broke my wrist at the Rafa Nadal Academy, I had a tournament organised for two months and I think two days before we left I broke my wrist playing football. I was very unlucky with that one. I was 14 and a guy who was 19 years old, he was a big 19 year old dude, he jumped and we tried to get the ball that was high in the air. I fell on my wrist, but I didn't feel it that bad, I didn't hear a crack or anything. But then when I went to bed, I just saw it swollen and I was like, ‘I messed up.’ I didn't want to go get the MRI done because I knew the results were going to be bad.

You May Also Like: Shelbayh, Nadal Academy Graduate, Paving Path For Jordanian Tennis

What job would you have if you weren't a tennis player?
I've found studying law interesting. I've always wanted to be a lawyer in court.

Do you enjoy legal TV shows?
Yeah, Suits on Netflix. A few seasons I watched all of them in like one week.

Who are some of your best friends on Tour?
Daniel Rincon, Alex Michelsen and I hope I'm not forgetting anyone. I'm good with most of the players here, I'm very good with them, just some of them I don’t see as much.

If you had to choose between attending a music concert or a sporting event, what would you choose and why?
For sure a Champions League match or World Cup match.

Do you have Champions League team you support?

If you could have dinner with any three famous people alive or dead, who would they be?
Lionel Messi, Muhammad Ali and Kevin Hart.

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