Nick Kyrgios gives one-word verdict on Djokovic copying Shelton’s celebration
Novak Djokovic on course for 24th grand slam
Nick Kyrgios has given his verdict on Novak Djokovic copying Ben Shelton’s celebration after he defeated the young American to reach the final of the US Open. The 36-year-old set up Sunday’s showpiece with Daniil Medvedev after a 6-3 6-2 7-6(4) victory over Shelton, before then imitating his opponent’s signature celebration.
In New York, Shelton has been known to celebrate by putting down an imaginary telephone and his opponents have grown accustomed to it, but this time Djokovic was the victor and made sure to use that same celebration against the 20-year-old on his way to the US Open final.
Some may have felt that Djokovic’s decision was perhaps disrespectful to his opponent after the straight-sets win, which the Serb has since denied, while Kyrgios took to social media to indicate how much of a fan of the copying he was. Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, the Aussie said: “COLD” accompanied by six snow emojis.
While Kyrgios approved of the reaction by Djokovic, many on social media insisted that it was not in the right spirit after moving past a lower-ranked player in the semi-final. But the 36-year-old insisted that he was just a fan of the phone celebration. “I just love Ben’s celebration,” Djokovic said. “I thought it was very original. I copied him. I stole his celebration.”
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Shelton himself was not aware that the mimicking had happened while on the court, but believes that Djokovic’s celebration was in good nature and that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.
“I didn’t see it until after the match,” he admitted. “I don’t like when I am on social media, and I see people telling me how I can or can’t celebrate. If you win the match, you deserve to do whatever you want. As a kid growing up, I always learned that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
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Earlier in the tournament, the young American explained that the celebration was born during his college days and he has since taken that to the big stage. “For me it’s kind of like I’m saying I’m dialled in,” Shelton said.
“That’s what it is for me. You know, the first time that I really saw it is I’m really close friends with a lot of track and field athletes who train at the University of Florida where I live in Gainesville.
“One in particular, Grant Holloway, who’s won the World Championships I think three times in a row now, that’s kind of his signature thing. He loves doing this when he wins, and a lot of other athletes on the team kind of started doing it after too.”
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