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'A tennis star is born': Ben Shelton profiled in "GQ: Hype"
The US Open semifinalist got the cover shoot treatment after his 'big break.'
Published Sep 14, 2023
WATCH: Who rocked the US Open sleeveless fit best: Carlos Alcaraz, Frances Tiafoe or Ben Shelton?
After his "big break" at the US Open, "GQ" magazine says Ben Shelton is ticketed for "superstardom."
The 20-year-old left-hander got a cover shoot and an in-depth profile by Kevin Nguyen in the magazine, for its "GQ: Hype" arm, on the back of his breakout run in New York, his second such treatment by the American men's magazine in a month's time. ("Ben Shelton Is Taking Over the US Open" was published on Sept. 5, in the midst of his New York star turn.)
Shelton was photographed for the story, titled "Ben Shelton's Big Break," by AF Webb and styled by Brandon Tan—in a spread Shelton called "pretty sick" when it was released on Thursday.
Throughout, he wears his own On gear, as well as clothes by Bugatchi, Loro Piana, Le Père and Gucci.
In the piece, Shelton discusses his journey to pro tennis, and how the perspective he gained from a traditional upbringing as compared to other tennis players has helped to give him perspective.
“It’s easy for tennis players to get self-centered because everything out here on tour is catered around us,” he says. “We’re put on this pedestal, and it’s easy to just think everything is about yourself, and the world revolves around you, but it doesn’t.”
Nguyen later writes about Shelton's US Open journey, specifically focusing on his matches against Frances Tiafoe and Novak Djokovic.
"'Okay, I may not win this match,” Shelton remembers thinking," Nguyen writes. “'But I want this guy to know—I want the crowd to know—that I’m here to play. And that I’m going to be back.'”
And, of course, Nguyen touches on that moment after Shelton lost to Djokovic—when Djokovic mimicked the celebration Shelton made famous in five wins—with insight from both Shelton's father, Bryan Shelton, and Chris Eubanks.
“He wants to be loved so much, Novak…” Bryan Shelton says. “He wanted to mock Ben at the end. It wasn't something he was doing just to copy Ben. It was to mock him. And that's too bad, for that to come from such a great champion.”
But Eubanks, Nguyen says, "had a different take."
"His gut reaction in the moment was to be protective of his friend. But the more he thought about it, the more he loved that Djokovic copied his friend’s phone celebration," Nguyen writes. “'This happens in every other sport,' Eubanks says. 'We could use some more of this.'"