US Open ace Ben Shelton issues pointed response to critics of on-court behaviour

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American tennis star Ben Shelton has hit out at his critics who are against him expressing himself on the court. The 20-year-old believes that everything tennis players do is “looked down upon” no matter how they choose to display their emotions.

At just 20 years old, Shelton is enjoying his breakthrough season after turning professional last year. The current World No. 19 has risen through the ranks after making it to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open earlier in the year.

The Florida-born tennis star managed to grab the headlines after impressing at the US Open, where he reached the semi-finals and was beaten by eventual champion Novak Djokovic. He also made the semi-finals alongside Taylor Townsend in the mixed doubles.

But it’s not just his impressive tennis abilities that have captured fans’ attention. Shelton is also known for his passionate celebrations after beating opponents and winning hard-fought points.

Despite drawing criticism from some fans, Shelton believes that everything he does is put under a microscope and claims that tennis players aren’t allowed to show emotion without extreme consequences.

“Every little thing that you do, even if it’s not out of control – you don’t need to be swearing or breaking racquets – is looked down upon in tennis,” Shelton said in an interview with GQ. “If I win a big point & I’m screaming… people will say something. ‘He celebrates too hard. He is out of control. Be humble.’”

This isn’t the first time Shelton has addressed his critics. The American recently claimed that he pays attention to trolls on social media and uses their comments as motivation.

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“I’m not a guy who gets frightened or scared by comments on social media,” he said during the US Open. “When people are saying negative things about me, that just drives me. It’s not something that I ever worry about.

“If I go to sleep at night thinking about it, it’s more anger than me being sad. That helps me get out of bed and go to work every single day, work hard to get to where I want to be. I like seeing those comments sometimes or messages or doubters. I think that it’s something that helps fuel me.”

Shelton is next in action for John McEnroe’s Team World in the 2023 Laver Cup which starts on September 22. The American will be joined by fellow countrymen Tommy Paul, Frances Tiafoe, and Taylor Fritz, as well as Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. 

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