Bryan Shelton Tennis Podcast

Often times we fail to realize just how many doors the world of tennis can open for those who decide to pick up that racket at a young age. Everyone dreams of the long playing career, the major titles, & the Hall of Fame induction, but those accolades are reserved for a privileged few. There's still plenty of opportunities on and off the court to reach tremendous heights through this sport, and in many cases find one's true calling. Take this week's guest on the Podcast, Bryan Shelton, who had a very respectable run as a professional player. But once he put the racket down and started leading others, he truly became a history-maker in the game.


Shelton started his tennis journey in the southern part of America, where he acknowledged the sad reality that not everyone was welcoming & accepting. He does hold a special place in his heart for the people that did assist him along the way, especially his parents who made countless sacrifices to ensure he had a chance at a better future. That future on the court included a degree from the highly regarded academic institution of Georgia Tech (you don't graduate, you get out as Shelton puts it), and an eight year pro career highlighted by a run the 4th round at the 1994 Wimbledon Championships.

In 1997 Bryan Shelton retired from competition, and entered the coaching ranks. That decision ended up altering the foundation of the sport, and paying dividends for generations of tennis players to come. He worked with the USTA as well as Wimbledon finalist MaliVai Washington out of the gates, and it was in those early gigs that he developed the foundation for his coaching style. "You try to put them (the player) in a position where they can be successful & express their talent, and play freely," Shelton explained to Murray. "Because if they do, you know what they're capable of." Whether it's Shelton's work with Washington or Murray's own work with US Open Champion Sloane Stephens, the strategy has proven to be successful in yielding the best possible results.

In 1999 Shelton was hired as head coach of the Georgia Tech women's tennis team, and from there the program took off. He was a three time coach of the year, and guided the Yellow Jackets to their first national championship of any kind in 2007. After 13 outstanding seasons he switched over to the men's game as the head coach at Florida, where he ignited another program on the path towards greatness.

In 2021 his Gators won the NCAA team title, and in doing so Shelton became the only person to lead a men's & women's team to NCAA titles. Yet despite his individual accolades, the coach heaps all the praise on his players. "I had eight, nine kids deep that all were hungry," Shelton said recalling the similarities of both championship squads. "They started driving one another. Those two teams that got to that level, (had) pretty special individuals among the group."

The conversation between coaches explores all the avenues of the game, including the parental side of it. Shelton's son Ben was a late starter in competitive tennis, having focused on football at an early age. But when he made the commitment & put the work in with his father, his career exploded, culminating in an NCAA singles title this season. It's a terrific profile in parenting, and another example of the high quality person that this esteemed tennis coach continues to be.

Murray starts off the interview by acknowledging how much he looked up to his guest as a youth, and how his dad even pointed to Shelton as someone to emulate. After listening to his powerful backstory and approach to tennis & life on this podcast, you'll understand why Bryan Shelton is a deserving role model for anyone.