GEORGIA: Ben Shelton, the reigning NCAA Division I men's singles champion, who reached the third round of last week's Western & Southern Open, on Tuesday announced that he is turning professional.
The 19-year-old American won the NCAA Singles Championship last year while competing for the University of Florida.
"After sitting down with my parents this weekend, I have decided to forgo my last two years of eligibility and turn pro. While this wasn't an easy decision, I'm excited for the next chapter in my career," Shelton wrote in a statement, posted on Twitter.
"I want to thank the University of Florida for two incredible years. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience to become part of the Florida Family, and to compete in National Championships. These are memories I'll cherish forever.
"I have made brothers for life. I'm grateful for my teammates, coaches, and support staff at UF who have been there for me my whole collegiate career, and helped shape me into the person I am today. I would also like to thank my family, who have always taught me to BELIEVE in God, and myself, while pushing me to stay balanced in everything I do. God is good," he added.
The teenager also mentioned that he will continue his finance degree online while travelling on tour.
"With that, I am going to continue my finance degree online while travelling on tour. I can't wait to get out there, expand my horizons, and see what this next chapter has in store. Gator Nation, I will be repping all over the world! I'm pumped to see everyone at the US Open. CHOMP CHOMP," he said.
Shelton began the year at No. 573 in the ATP Rankings. He climbed to a career-high No. 171 after his run in Cincinnati, where he stunned Casper Ruud in the second round.
The lefty has also earned a 14-5 record on the ATP Challenger Tour this season, including runs to the championship match in Rome, Georgia and Chicago, Illinois.
Shelton, who received a wild card into the main draw of the US Open, is 13th in the ATP Race To Milan. He will try to qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be played in Milan from November 8-12.