Novak Djokovic Ignites Roger Federer Feud With Blunt Remark After Taunting Ben Shelton in Melbourne

The scoreline of Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open third-round encounter against his fanboy Tomas Etcheverry suggested that it was a simple match for the Serb. However, the reality was something else altogether. Djokovic looked under the weather for most of the match, even though he won the first two sets comfortably. In the third set, Etcheverry shed his fanboy persona and went toe-to-toe with Djokovic. Ultimately though, Djokovic prevailed in a one-sided tiebreaker.

However, after the match, Djokovic raised a few eyebrows during his post-match press conference. The 10-time Australian Open champion (also the reigning one) delved deep into his past, and recalled how Roger Federer was among the ones who criticized his behavior when he started to make a name for himself. This comes just days after Djokovic took an unexpected swipe at American youngster Ben Shelton.

Roger Federer called out by Novak Djokovic in startling Australian Open revelation

In the world of tennis, Roger Federer is probably perceived to have the best image in terms of his behavior. However, Novak Djokovic’s latest confession at the Australian Open paints a different picture altogether.

via Imago

After sealing his third-round Australian Open victory against Etcheverry 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 Djokovic was quizzed by the press about his younger days on the ATP tour, and if there were any players who took offense to his “expressive” personality. In response, Djokovic said, “I know certainly Federer didn’t like the way I was behaving at the beginning. I think it didn’t sit with him well. I don’t know about the others.”

However, Djokovic went on to explain, “I guess I wasn’t the favorite type of guy to some of the top guys because I was not afraid to say that I want to be the best player in the world”. The World No. 1 further added, “I never, ever lacked respect.”

Ben Shelton, the Roger Federer-backed American, also came in Djokovic’s firing line recently

At the 2023 US Open, Djokovic faced Shelton in the semi-finals. Shelton, at the time, was oozing with confidence, and had gained notoriety because of his ‘dialed in’ celebration. Shelton also happens to be sponsored by Swiss sports shoe giants On, which is backed none other by Federer. Djokovic made light work of Shelton in the semis, but what stood out more than the result was the Serb’s imitation of the young American’s trademark celebration after the match. Djokovic stated after the match that the reason for doing so was simply his admiration for Shelton’s celebration.

However, a few days before the 2024 Australian Open started, Djokovic took a U-turn that took everyone in the tennis world by surprise. This time around, Djokovic was brutal in his recollection of the encounter against Shelton. The living Serbian legend lambasted Shelton for behaving inappropriately and said that he will never back down from reacting if someone emulates the young American on the tennis court. While Roger Federer has always been class personified, especially since his retirement, will he respond to Djokovic’s statement now? What do you think? Feel free to voice your opinion in the comments below.


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