Ben Shelton names his GOAT and reveals which player he ‘tried to steal secrets from’

Shahida Jacobs
Ben Shelton in action
Ben Shelton (USA) in action during a tennis match

Ben Shelton has had his say on the never-ending greatest tennis player of all time (GOAT) debate as he was also full of praise for fellow rising star Jannik Sinner.

Men’s tennis is at an interesting juncture as it is looking to move on from the Big Three era of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The trio of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic took tennis to new heights as they shared 66 Grand Slams, dominated the world No 1 ranking and also set numerous other records on the way.

But it has resulted in many a discussion about who is the greatest of them all and for some the honour goes to Djokovic as he leads his rivals in almost every stat – including most majors won as he has 24 and counting.

Others feel it is Nadal due to his incredible French Open record as he has won an astonishing 14 titles at Roland Garros while some believe it is Federer due to his style and the fact that he paved the way for his fellow Big Three rivals.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Shelton made some interesting comments about three GOAT rivals.

“I studied Nadal and tried to steal some secrets from him,” Shelton – who is also left-handed like Nadal.

He added: “But my favourite has always been Roger. Novak Djokovic? In three years he will still be a top five, he will still win tournaments.”

The Big Three, though, are on their way out as Federer has already retired and Nadal has indicated that the 2024 season will be his final one. Djokovic, though, is expected to play a few more years.

The next generation is ready to take over the baton and Shelton is one of them along with Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz.

Alcaraz has already won two Grand Slams while Sinner has enjoyed an incredible few months as he beat Alcaraz en route to winning the China Open.

Shelton, though, defeated Sinner a few weeks later at the Shanghai Masters while last week the American won his maiden ATP Tour singles title at the Japan Open.

The 20-year-old Shelton had nothing but praise for Sinner.

“He is only a year older than me and has achieved a lot. He leads a fantastic generation of young Italians and is among the top five of the next few years,” he stated.

As for the American contingent on the ATP Tour, Shelton is one of four players in the top 20 along with Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe.

The youngster hopes to represent his country at some big events over the next few years as he also picked up his father Bryan, who won two ATP Tour singles titles, as his favourite American player.

“We are many and strong,” he said. “Personally, I aim to lead my country first in the Davis Cup and next season at the Olympics. My favourite American tennis player has always been my father. If I have to go beyond the family circle, then I say Andy Roddick.”

READ MORE: Ben Shelton reaches career-high ranking after cruising to maiden ATP title in Tokyo