This is why Novak Djokovic will never be seen in the same light as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer - Tennis fans slam Serb for mocking Ben Shelton after US Open SF win
Novak Djokovic advances to the US Open final after defeating Ben Shelton, but faces backlash for mocking his opponent's celebration.
Novak Djokovic has advanced to the final of the 2023 US Open in impressive fashion, defeating young American player Ben Shelton in the semifinals. Djokovic showcased his exceptional skills and took advantage of Shelton's lack of experience, as the 20-year-old was playing in his first-ever Grand Slam semifinal. The Serb dominated the match, winning in straight sets with a score of 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(4) in a match that lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. Djokovic effectively neutralized Shelton's powerful serve and demonstrated his resilience as he continues his pursuit of a record-setting 24th Grand Slam title.
Following his victory over Shelton, Djokovic celebrated by mimicking the young American's signature celebration of picking up the phone and hanging it up. This celebration had gained attention when Shelton used it after defeating Frances Tiafoe in the quarterfinals. However, Djokovic's mocking gesture received criticism from many in the tennis world, who felt it was unnecessary and disrespectful.
Tennis fans pointed out that Djokovic's behavior is one of the reasons why he is not as adored as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. They found the 36-year-old's conduct towards a 20-year-old who had just played the biggest match of his career to be disappointing. Social media platforms were flooded with comments expressing disappointment and disapproval of Djokovic's actions.
"Pathetic. This is why Nole will never be seen in the same light as Rafa and Roger. He doesn't want anyone to succeed but himself," one fan stated.
"Imo, completely unnecessary celebration from 36-year-old Novak Djokovic after beating a 20-year-old Ben Shelton, who was playing the biggest match of his career in front of his home crowd and was *never* disrespectful towards him," another fan wrote on X.
"Novak's 'hang-up' thing at the end was a little cartoonishly uncalled for, right? It was a straight set win that was never in doubt," expressed another fan.
Renowned tennis journalist Christopher Clarey also questioned the necessity of Djokovic's celebration.
Here are some additional fan reactions to Novak Djokovic's celebration:
Novak Djokovic's final challenge in his pursuit of a fourth US Open title will come from either the top seed and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz or the third seed and former champion Daniil Medvedev. Interestingly, both players have previously halted Djokovic's quest for a calendar Slam. Alcaraz achieved this feat earlier in the year by defeating Djokovic, who had already won the Australian Open and the French Open, in the Wimbledon final. Similarly, Medvedev emerged victorious against Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final after the Serb had claimed the other three Majors that year.
Throughout the tournament, Djokovic has displayed exceptional form, winning all but one of his matches in straight sets at Flushing Meadows. He has convincingly defeated opponents such as Bernade Zapata Miralles, Laslo Djere (who managed to take two sets off him), Borna Gojo, Taylor Fritz, and now Ben Shelton. The 23-time Grand Slam champion last won the US Open singles title in 2018 when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in the final.
With his victory over Shelton, Djokovic has reached the final of all four Grand Slams in the same year for the third time in his career, previously achieving this feat in 2015 and 2021. He now sets his sights on becoming the oldest man in the Open Era to win the US Open singles title, surpassing Ken Rosewall's record. Rosewall claimed the title in 1970 at the age of 35. Djokovic aims to make history and add another remarkable achievement to his already illustrious career.