Ben Shelton did not seem bothered or offended by Novak Djokovic making fun of his celebration following their US Open semifinal meeting.
Shelton’s sensational run at the New York Major came to an end in the final four as the Serb beat him 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) to book his place in the final.
After the match finished, Djokovic mimicked the celebration the 20-year-old did after his quarterfinal win over Frances Tiafoe, which was pretending to pick up a phone before hanging it up. The post-match exchange between the two was also far from pleasant as they had what looked like a frosty handshake.
Shelton was asked about his thoughts on Djokovic copying his celebration, and he took no offense to the Serb’s actions, remarking that he deserved to do whatever he wanted after winning the match. The 20-year-old, in fact, felt flattered by the veteran’s imitation of him.
“I didn’t see it until after the match. 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,” Ben Shelton said.
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,” he added.
Shelton was also asked about what learnt from and about Djokovic from their match. The 20-year-old responded by claiming that the Serb had a mentality similar to his own and expressed his desire to face the 36-year-old again.
“Yeah, you know, 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. I think it was really cool to see that matchup for the first time. Looking forward to hopefully getting it again,” Shelton said.
Ben Shelton will debut in the top 20 of the ATP rankings after reaching the US Open semifinals
Ben Shelton enjoyed his best-ever run at a Grand Slam this fortnight, reaching the semifinals of the US Open. The 20-year-old’s exploits will see him enter the top 20 of the ATP rankings for the very first time in his career. Shelton will attain a new career-best ranking of 19th come Monday.
The American has won only 17 out of 38 matches so far this season but his run at the US Open and a previous quarterfinal appearance at the Australian Open have helped him maintain a decent ranking.
Apart from those two tournaments, Shelton hasn’t won more than one match at an ATP Tour event in 2023.