Ben Shelton thrives on personal attention from Roger Federer’s On Sports
Ben Shelton may have turned professional at a young age, especially for somebody whose father is a respected collegiate coach but his commitment to finish off his degree shows that he has prepared himself to make sound decisions off the court.
Shelton was a big scoop for On Sports as the first big sponsored athlete signing on the ATP Tour outside of company shareholder Roger Federer, and he has donned their gear throughout a successful 2023 season.
He is also sponsored by racket-makers Yonex and uses the Ezone 98 model with a custom setup that hasn’t been totally revealed.
Shelton’s never-say-die attitude and willingness to take on the best in the world with no fear is winning him new fans all the time, and brands will soon start taking note as well.
“I think that the most important thing is you know you’re representing your family out there, your team,” Shelton told Forbes about his philosophy on court.
“You will never see me tank a match because I know how many people are behind me and supporting me. It helps me respect them and respect the sport. I try not to be smashing rackets or swearing on the court. I’m representing something other than myself.”
Shelton says that he isn’t terribly conscious of needing to protect his brand when he is on court, but on social media and in press rooms, it is a different story.
“When I’m on the court, I’m not thinking about what others see in me,” he says. “Sometimes I want to be entertaining for the crowd and get them into the match, but that is what’s going to get me in the right head space and acting the right way to compete at the highest level. To get a win is a very mental game, so the more you can flip a switch in your head … I play better that way. That’s what I focus on.
“It makes me think about what I post and what you say in the caption and comments and trying to be humble,” Shelton adds regarding thinking of himself as a brand and the face of his team which now includes his father who has given up collegiate coaching to help direct his son’s career. “Those are the things I think about.”
Shelton is represented by agent Alessandro Barel Di Sant Albano of Team8 who has set up deals like those with Yonex and 2K but the young player is not disinterested in his finances and says that the business side of a tennis career is a great interest for him.
“That is something I enjoy,” Shelton revealed, “I like being involved in the process.”
Shelton is delighted to be associated with Roger Federer-linked endeavour On Sports and said that the Swiss legend was key in getting him on board.
Shelton has been wearing the new Roger Pro 2 shoes throughout the season.
He is delighted to sign with a company like On, who will give him a more personal touch than a massive supplier.
“I thought that was a really cool part of it,” he said of the On deal.
“On really cares about me and making a product that is going to help me perform at the highest level. That is pretty cool and very unique.”
Shelton has previously had commercial relationships with Wilson and Nike.
He signed a clothing deal with New Balance during 2023 to add to his sponsorship portfolio.
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