After winning the NCAA Singles Championship, Riffice earned a spot in the main draw. Shelton won in the doubles competition and finished second in singles at Zoo Nationals to earn his bid to the U.S. Open. Photo Credit: floridagators.com

Florida Gators Participate in the 2021 Tennis US Open

The 2021 Tennis US Open tournament started on Monday, Aug. 24.  Depending on the results, the event may single the start of a new era in the sport.

Since the 2003 Wimbledon, 60 of the 71 men’s major tournaments have been won by either Rodger Feder, Rafael Nadal, or Novak Djokovic.  That said, with the first two now at 40 and 35 years old respectively, both Federer and Nadal are not participating in the competition.  Furthermore, although favored to lift the tournaments trophy, Novak Djokovic is not the player he once was now at 34 years old.  If a young a rising star is able to break through and host the Borg-Warner Trophy, it may represent a changing of the guard.

Ben Shelton and Sam Riffice are both current Florida Men’s Tennis players who competed in the tournament.  Unfortunately, both have since been eliminated.

Qualifiers

Shelton finished runner up during the 2021 18u USTA Boy’s National Singles Championships.  As a result, he earned a qualifying bid to the US Open.  In the opening round of qualifiers, he pulled a large upset and defeated Michael Mmoh.

https://twitter.com/GatorsMTN/status/1430603304950763520

In the 2nd round of qualifiers, Shelton faced Botic Van de Zandschulp.  Although the match went all three sets, he unfortunately fell by of score of 6-3, 5-7, 4-6.  Despite the loss, being just a sophomore, Shelton has a very bright future ahead.

Main Draw

Different from Shelton, Riffice earned a wild card bid to the Men’s Main Singles Draw.  In the first round, he faced the tournaments 15th overall seed, Grigor Dimitrov.  Despite their difference in ranking, Riffice put up a good fight.  Although he lost in straight sets, Rifice gave Dimitrov nothing easy and made him earn the win.

Shelton earned a spot in the main doubles draw, but was forced to withdraw before his first match due to COVID-19 Protocols.

What’s Next

Coverage of the tournament will continue on ESPN through Sunday, Sept. 12th.

About William Silverman

William Silverman is a junior at the University of Florida from Philadelphia who is interested in pursuing a career in business, communications and journalism.

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