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Djokovic: Shelton Did Not Behave with Respect

In a new interview, world No. 1 revisits his dramatic hang-up on Ben Shelton at the US Open.

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, January 13, 2024
Novak Djokovic has a clear message for opponents: Dial up dispresect and you’ll hear hang-up.
Moments after dismissing Ben Shelton 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) to reach his record-tying 10th US Open final last September, 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 world No. 1 was asked about his declarative derision in a new interview with French publication L’Equipe.

Djokovic said that semifinal was personal and his motivation simple: diss him and he will respond.

“It was a reaction against him, he did not behave properly, with respect, on court, and before the match,” Djokovic told L’Equipe. “If anyone one places himself in the unsportsmanlike zone, I react.”

us when they call about our car’s extended warranty.

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2023

Novak Djokovic hangs up the phone on Ben. 🥶

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2023

COLD ❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️

— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 9, 2023

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.”

Photo credit: Mike Stobe/Getty

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