Novak Djokovic gets honest on how he feels about Ben Shelton after celebration drama

Djokovic addressed Shelton's game and personality after his latest Australian Open win.

by Dzevad Mesic
Novak Djokovic gets honest on how he feels about Ben Shelton after celebration drama
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Novak Djokovic says he is actually a big admirer of Ben Shelton's confidence and belief but underlines that there is "a non-visible line" that some players must respect and not cross. 

Shelton, who made the 2023 Australian Open quarterfinal before reaching the US Open semifinal a couple of months later, quickly established himself as one of the most promising and entertaining players to watch. On the court, Shelton is carrying himself with confidence and he loves to get the crowd engaged. 

Playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal in front of his home fans, Shelton irked Djokovic when he decided to "hang up the phone" on the Serb. After completing a three-set win over Shelton, Djokovic did the same celebration, which many deemed as the Serb mocking the 21-year-old. 

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Mike Stobe

In a recent interview with L'Equipe, Djokovic revealed that he felt Shelton "did not behave with respect" and that his decision to imitate the American's celebration was "a reaction to a provocation."

Djokovic reveals how he really feels about Shelton's game and personality

"As far as Shelton's level of confidence and coming out, I don't mind that actually at all. I think it's great. You got to believe. I'm all for that... I don't dislike that at all," Djokovic said.

"But there is obviously some kind of line, non-visible line, of acceptable behavior I guess towards the other player. If a player steps over that line, then obviously it starts being annoying. That's when you react or you don't react, whatever. It just depends."

Novak Djokovic and Ben Shelton
Novak Djokovic and Ben Shelton© Getty Images Sport - Elsa

When the Australian Open draw was released, No. 1 seed Djokovic and 16th-seeded Shelton were projected to meet in the Australian Open round-of-16. On Friday, Djokovic got the job done at Melbourne Park by beating Tomas Martin Etcheverry in three sets. 

But there won't be a Djokovic and Shelton meeting in Melbourne since the American lost to Adrian Mannarino. 

Novak Djokovic Ben Shelton Australian Open