Former Gators men’s tennis players Oliver Crawford and Ben Shelton are competing in the 2022 US Open. This is the second straight year Florida has players representing in the championships.
Back in 2020, Crawford announced he was pursuing his professional career, thus forgoing his senior season at Florida. During his time at UF, Crawford earned numerous collegiate honors including being a three-time ITA All-American and was selected for the 2019 NCAA-All Tournament Team. Crawford’s career record at Florida was 63-22 in overall singles and 62-19 in overall doubles.
Crawford made his first US Open appearance Wednesday after entering as a wild card into the qualifying draw where he was ranked No. 309 by the Association of Tennis Professionals. He played in the first round of the singles qualifier against No. 150 Geoffrey Blancaneaux. The former Gator fell in straight sets to Blancaneaux, 6-3 and 6-4.
Shelton took a similar path as Crawford did. On Tuesday, Shelton announced he was forgoing his final two years of collegiate eligibility to pursue his professional career. The Gainesville native had an astounding collegiate career. A few of his honors include being a 2021 NCAA Champion after clinching the match for the Gators against Baylor in his freshman season, the 2022 ITA National Player of the Year and the 2022 NCAA Singles Champion.
Shelton enters the US Open after earning a wild card into the main draw and will match up against an opponent from the qualifier in the first round. Last year, he fell short of advancing to the main draw after falling to Botic van de Zandschlup in the third set, 6-4. Shelton is set to compete Aug. 29.
Outside of the US Open, the Florida men’s tennis season begins Sept. 23 at the Vanderbilt Invitational.