Meet Ben Shelton’s parents.
The 20-year-old tennis star — who recently became the youngest US Open American men’s semi finalist since Michael Chang in 1992 — is the son of Bryan and Lisa Shelton, both former players of the sport themselves.
Lisa and Bryan have been married for nearly 25 years, tying the knot in October 1999. They welcomed their first child, daughter Emma, on March 18, 2001, before welcoming Shelton on Oct. 9, 2002.
While it’s unclear what brought Lisa and Bryan together, a shared love for tennis in part made them a perfect match. The two, respectively, were accomplished players in the sport prior to raising their children who followed in their tennis shoe footsteps.
Shelton, in particular, is following in his father’s professional path — but Bryan notes of his son, “He’s just a different animal than I was.” When speaking to the New York Times in August 2022, the proud dad said, “It took me a long time to get to where he’s at, and he started later than I did.”
Bryan — who peaked as a top 60 singles player in the 1990s and reached the fourth round of Wimbledon as a qualifier in 1994 — said when speaking to the outlet, “I think things have certainly accelerated a lot faster than I had planned or thought with Ben’s development on the court and with his maturity as well.”
In fact, Shelton — who only started playing tennis regularly at age 11 after giving up his nascent career at quarterback — didn’t even have an interest in the family sport at first. “This was the same kid who said that ‘tennis will not be my sport’ when he was younger,” Bryan revealed, adding that “he definitely came to it on his own” without any “pressure” from his brood.
Here’s everything to know about Shelton’s parents, Bryan and Lisa.
Bryan is a retired professional tennis player
Bryan is a former professional tennis player, who spent nine seasons on the ATP Tour before retiring after the US Open in 1997. A few of his career highlights include clinching two singles titles and a pair of doubles titles.
The Alabama native has also seen some Slams. Bryan is a seven-time US Open participant, six-time Wimbledon participant, six-time Australian Open participant and a four-time French Open participant.
In 1993, he reached the finals of the French Open in mixed doubles with partner Lori McNeil. That same year, the two were semifinalists in mixed doubles at Wimbledon. In 1994, Shelton reached the Round of 16 in singles at Wimbledon
Prior to the start of his professional tennis career, Bryan played the sport at Georgia Tech where he was an All-American and four-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, leading the school to record-breaking wins in 1988.
Bryan snagged 101 victories, ranking second on the Jackets’ career singles wins list. He was inducted into the Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993, the Georgia Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007.
Bryan is a former collegiate tennis coach
Prior to serving as head coach of the women’s program for 13 seasons at this alma mater, Georgia Tech, Bryan spent one season as a national coach with the United States Tennis Association and worked with top juniors such as Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Bobby Reynolds.
In June 2012, Bryan was named the head tennis coach at the University of Florida. In fact, Shelton was coached by his father during the two seasons he played as a Florida Gator. While there, he accomplished two major feats: winning the national title in 2021 for Florida as a freshman against Baylor and winning the individual title the following spring.
“I saw that my dad was a college coach and knew a lot about the game,” Shelton told the New York Times. “My chances of going far in the sport and having that resource was definitely going to be helpful.”
Over one decade after his tenure in Gainesville began, he stepped down from collegiate coaching in June 2023. Amid his various accomplishments throughout his Florida coaching career, he became the fourth head coach in the program’s history to win 200 matches.
Bryan coaches Ben full-time
Though he stepped down from coaching collegiate tennis in June 2023, Bryan didn’t step away from the sport altogether. In fact, he’s continuing his duties as a coach for his son full-time.
Shelton posted a tribute to his Instagram, honoring his dad after his retirement. “My dad retired from collegiate coaching today. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished in your 24 years out there,” the pro tennis player began.
“This isn’t a career that’s defined by championships and accolades, but by the people impacted and lives changed. You showed up to work every day and gave a perfect effort. You did things with character and humility no matter the situation,” he continued.
“You’ve kept your faith wherever your life has taken you, and always put your family first. There isn’t a better role model for young men trying to find their way in life. The Gator Nation may have suffered a blow with this one, but we always bounce back. 🧡💙”
Shelton concluded, “That being said, the dream team is back together baby‼️ Can’t wait to have you out on tour with me, and see what we can accomplish together 🤞🏽🐐.”
Lisa was an accomplished junior tennis player
Shelton’s mom, Lisa, was also an accomplished tennis player — however, the Indiana native peaked at the junior level in comparison to Bryan and her son. Currently, Lisa works as a relator for Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Thomas Group in Gainesville, Florida.
“I specialize in bringing you the best homes for sale and real estate listings in the area. Whether you are buying a home, selling a home or need help securing a Home Mortgage, I’ve got you covered,” according to her bio.
Lisa is the sister of a highly-ranked tennis player
Reigning from a tennis family herself, Lisa — who is one of eight siblings — is the sister of the late Todd Witsken. The tennis player, who died in May 1998 at age 34, was a world No. 4 doubles and No. 43 singles player who also was a three-time all-American at the University of Southern California.
“We kid around, like which genes is Ben playing with, the Shelton genes or the Witsken genes?” Bryan told the New York Times. “He’s got some good blood running through him, that’s for sure.”
Bryan and Lisa have two kids
In addition to Shelton, Bryan and Lisa are the parents of daughter Emma. The older of the two siblings, Emma is also a tennis player.
Prior to playing for both collegiate women’s teams, Emma was ranked as a five-star recruit and the No. 7 prospect in the state of Florida. She was also tabbed the No. 16 prospect in the Southeast region.
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