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Shelton Responds to Djokovic Mockery

Shelton Responds to Djokovic Mockery

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, September 8, 2023

NEW YORK—Novak Djokovic dialed up post-match mockery today.

Moments after dismissing Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) to reach his record-tying 10th US Open final, Djokovic emphatically hung up on Shelton mimicking the 20-year-old American’s trademark celebration of hanging up a phone on opponents.

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The sarcastic Djokovic gesture immediately went viral though Shelton himself said he didn’t see it until after he was off court.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion said it was a tribute celebration.

“And I just love Ben’s celebration,” Djokovic said. “I thought it was very original, and I copied him. I stole his celebration.”

Shelton smiled off Djokovic’s jab in his post-match presser saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

“I didn’t see it until after the match,” Shelton said. “You know, I don’t like when I’m on social media and I see people telling me how I can celebrate or can’t celebrate. You know, I think if you win the match, you deserve to do whatever you want.

“You know, as a kid growing up, I always learned that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so that’s all I have to say about that.”

Contesting just the fifth Grand Slam tournament of his life, Shelton held a set point at 5-4 in the third set, but could not close. Shelton said he looks forward to a rematch with the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

“I learned that he’s a guy who can compete at the highest level, has, you know, a similar mentality to me on the court with how he wants to come after you and be aggressive and show his emotion,” Shelton said. “I think it was really cool to see that matchup for the first time. Looking forward to hopefully getting it again.”

Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty

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