Ben Shelton, the young American tennis player who made headlines with his impressive performance at the US Open, recently spoke out about his experiences with criticism and social media. In an interview with GQ, Shelton revealed that the constant scrutiny and negative comments have become a part of his life as a professional athlete.
During the US Open, Shelton found it difficult to escape the cameras and microphones. He mentioned an incident where he went to the gym to chat with fellow player Coco Gauff, only to find that there were microphones everywhere. “You don’t have a safe space where people watch you and when you go back to the hotel room you can relax,” Shelton explained.
Like his friend Gauff, Shelton admitted to reading negative comments on social media. However, he also revealed that he uses these criticisms as fuel to improve his game. “They make me feel good and they help you play better,” he said.
Shelton also acknowledged the level of scrutiny that professional tennis players face. “Every little thing we do is analyzed and often disapproved,” he said. He cited an example where celebrating a point led to criticism for being excessive and out of control. He further added that the tennis circuit can easily make players become egocentric, as they are constantly being put on a pedestal.
It is clear that Shelton’s experiences with criticism and social media have had an impact on him. However, he remains determined to use these challenges as motivation for improvement, just like his friend Coco Gauff.