In a recent press conference in Melbourne, Novak Djokovic addressed the incident of him imitating Ben Shelton’s ‘Hang Up’ celebration at the US Open. He said that his actions were provoked by the ‘unsportsmanlike’ behavior of the young American.
The World No. 1 faced up with Ben Shelton in the semi-finals of the US Open last season. Although the match ended up being a comfortable win for Novak who won it in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4), the match-winning celebration by him raised some eyebrows. Novak imitated Shelton’s signature ‘Hang Up’ celebration to send out a message to his young competitor.
Previously, Novak had played down the incident by calling the celebration “very original”. He had also expressed his liking for it. However, four months after the incident, he has now revealed his true motives behind his actions.
In an interview with L’Equipe, he said that the incident stemmed from his opponent’s lack of respect towards him before their match.
“This is my reaction to a provocation that came from the other side, it was a reaction against him. He did not behave properly, with respect, on court, and before the match. If anyone one places himself in the unsportsmanlike zone, I react,” said the Serbian World No. 1.
It is also worth mentioning that these two are placed in the same bracket and can face each other again in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Their rematch of last year’s US Open semis is shaping out to be a must-watch TV with the to and fro from these two.
Frustrated Ben Shelton claps back at the media for bugging him with questions on his ‘Hang Up’ celebration and feud with Novak Djokovic
Ben Shelton decided not to entertain any media questions that would provoke a previous incident at the US Open with Novak Djokovic.
The American, after his first-round win in the ongoing Australian Open was asked to opine his views on the recent comments from Novak on the US Open incident. To which, Shelton responded that he had already addressed the incident before. He also said that the incident was in the past and that he had already moved on from it.
“No, I don’t really have anything else to say on the whole US Open situation, I feel like I’ve been asked about it constantly in the last four or five months. I feel like I’ve said my piece on the matter. I would rather just let it settle and move forward.”
“We’re in Australia now, and we’re at the Australian Open and not the US Open any more. I’m just focusing on the Australian Open and happy and grateful to be here.”
The 21-year-old American said that he loves to exert his style on the court and isn’t answerable to anyone who has an objection to it.
“I feel like I enjoy myself out on the tennis court. Everyone can have their opinion on who I am or how I act. But, yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have an answer to your question,” he said.
Shelton won his first-round match against Roberto Bautista in a comfortable three-set win scoring 6-2, 7-6(2), 7-5. He now faces the challenge of Christopher O’Connell in the next round.