"You've been such an inspiration to kids, people of color in our sport": Ben Shelton shows class with Frances Tiafoe message

Monday, 08 April 2024 at 19:30
Ben Shelton left an emotional message to Frances Tiafoe after defeating him in the final of the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship by 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Both were involved in a spectacular duel between local tennis players, and Shelton ultimately secured the second title of his career and first on clay.
Big-Foe arrived as the defending champion in Houston but could not defend the title against the 21-year-old who became the youngest champion of the tournament since Andy Roddick achieved it in 2002 at the age of 19.
Shelton, who reached his career-best ranking as world No. 14 on Monday, praised his opponent in a heartfelt message during the award ceremony and congratulated him for being an "inspiration to kids" and wished him luck in his future challenges. "Great week Foe. Great job to you and your team," Ben Shelton started.
"I know this one stings, sorry you didn't go back-to-back titles, but you're that type of player who can go back to back. I want to see you do it again this year, hopefully in Stuttgart," he added.
“You've been such an inspiration to kids, people of color in our sport. Just an amazing representation. You've been that guy to always put on for us and always be selfless, thinking about others, kids younger than you so... thanks for everything you do for our sport and people who look like you and me."
Ben Shelton at Houston Open final
Shelton's victory was particularly special as he repeated the success of his father by winning the title more than 20 years later. "My dad won this tournament in 1992, he had that one up on me and I had to get one back on him today. Thanks for being a trailblazer showing me the way and I appreciate everyone out there who's watching me."
On the other hand, the 26-year-old Tiafoe expressed his disappointment over the loss and joked about his compatriot: "It's been a really tough year and playing a final has been really great,” he said. "It sucks we couldn't get it done. Screw you Ben!"
"It would have been cool to get number four. We'll get that soon enough. Let's really build on this and let's have a good '24."

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