The US Open has ended but the controversies from the tournament show no signs of stopping just yet. The last Grand Slam of the year was a grand affair, with players trying to steal the spotlight from others. However, one of the biggest incidents that is still being talked about, is Novak Djokovic copying Ben Shelton’s celebration. Ben’s father, Bryan Shelton, fanned the flames of this controversy once again, by taking aim at Djokovic.
The 24-time Grand Slam champion locked horns with the youngster in the highly-anticipated semifinal. Djokovic was at his brutal best in front of packed Arthur Ashe Stadium, with the crowd loudly cheering for Shelton. But Novak produced yet another masterclass in tennis, as he routed Shelton in straight sets.
Controversy arose when Novak imitated Ben’s ‘phone call’ celebration after his win. It divided the fans, as some felt it was unbecoming of Novak, while others thought it was great. During the press conference, Djokovic stated that he stole Shelton’s celebration because he loved it. Ben himself gave a very mature answer, saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
Ben‘s father Bryan, however, feels Djokovic mocked his son. “He wants to be loved so much, Novak. He wanted to mock Ben at the end. It wasn’t something he was doing just to copy Ben. It was to mock him. And that’s too bad, for that to come from such a great champion,” he said (via Daily Express).
Since this controversy reared its head again, Nick Kyrgios stood up for Novak Djokovic. He hit out at Ben’s father, stating that more people spoke of the celebration than the match itself. “WE AREN’T ROBOTS,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
SO WHAT?!?!? SPORT IS ENTERTAINMENT. WE AREN’T ROBOTS. MORE PEOPLE SPOKE ABOUT THE CELEBRATION THEN THE MATCH 😂 https://t.co/SIWS7WRb6O
— Nicholas Kyrgios (@NickKyrgios) September 15, 2023
Kyrgios has never shied away from sharing his opinions on social media, even at the cost of facing backlash. This time, however, fans agree with him.
Bryan Shelton taking a shot at Novak Djokovic did not sit well with fans
Ben’s father’s words have evoked angry reactions from tennis fans online. Many fans highlighted how obnoxious Ben was throughout their encounter, as he trash-talked Novak. The general consensus is that if one cannot handle a bit of heat, it is best not to dish it. Here are a few reactions to Bryan Shelton’s statements.
If he can’t handle the heat, maybe he isn’t ready to play with the big dogs. Convenient how his dad left out how Shelton was trash talking Novak the whole match. My family and I were big Shelton fans in the beginning of the tournament but it’s amazing how his team makes us like…
— Gina Bontempo (@FlorioGina) September 15, 2023
The mystery of Shelton’s arrogance is solved.
— Andrew Allen (@_AndrewAllen) September 15, 2023
Instead of thinking about what djokovic should or shouldn’t have done maybe they should ponder why so many people are finding his on court behavior so off putting that even a legend would feel moved to put him in his place? I mean this is not typical. He’s turning ppl off fast.
— Juno McDuff (@JunoMcduff) September 14, 2023
Novak Djokovic had a successful run in the US, winning the Cincinnati Open and his 24th Grand Slam title just weeks apart. While this controversy rages on, he is currently playing in the Davis Cup.