Novak Djokovic imitates Ben Shelton’s ‘hang up the phone’ taunt at US Open – but the upstart American isn’t upset: ‘If you win, you deserve to do anything’
- Shelton said of Djokovic: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”
- Djokovic beat Shelton in straight sets (6-3, 6-2, 7-6) in Queens on Friday night
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Ben Shelton has no problem with Novak Djokovic borrowing his “composed” victory celebration.
The upstart American had punctuated his victories en route to the US Open semi-finals by miming using a phone. But after losing to Djokovic in straight sets (6-3, 6-2, 7-6) in Queens on Friday night, Shelton was the target of the “composed” taunt.
When asked if he was offended, Shelton, 20, denied having any hard feelings.
“I didn’t see him until after the game,” Shelton told reporters. “I don’t like it when I’m on social media and I see people telling me how I can or can’t celebrate,” the Atlanta native continued.
“If you win the game, you deserve to do whatever you want. Growing up, I was always taught that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Serbian Novak Djokovic celebrates after winning his semi-final match against Ben Shelton
Ben Shelton has no problem with Novak Djokovic borrowing his ‘composed’ victory celebration
Djokovic limited big serve Shelton to five aces and broke him five times in their US Open semifinal on Friday.
The Serbian legend hit back when the unseeded American produced a late stand that kept the home crowd in the match.
And after overcoming what he called “a little black hole” caused by tension to recover, complete the victory in straight sets and reach his 10th final at Flushing Meadows and his 36th place in all major tournaments, a record , Djokovic added a touch of insult. hurt yourself by imitating “Hang up the phone!” » of the child. celebratory gesture.
Djokovic then pointed to his temple and pounded his fist on his chest, before a stone-faced Shelton met him at the net for the most perfunctory of handshakes.
A year after Djokovic was unable to travel to the United States for the Open because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, the 36-year-old Serbian is one victory away from a fourth title at New York and the 24th Grand Slam championship overall.
Ben Shelton celebrates after winning his quarter-final match against Frances Tiafoe
“Well, the thing is, at 36, every Grand Slam final…could be my last. So I think I probably appreciate these occasions and opportunities to win another Grand Slam more than he does. maybe 10 years ago,” said Djokovic, who would be the oldest man to win the US Open in the professional era, which began in 1968.
“I don’t know how many I have in front of me now.”
He has reached the final of all four majors this season, with victories at the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June.
If Djokovic ends up walking away with the hardware this time, he would break a tie with Serena Williams for the biggest singles championship of the Open era.
“It’s another chance for history,” said Djokovic, seeded No. 2 at the US Open but who will replace Alcaraz at No. 1 next week no matter what happens on Sunday.