'That Ignited Fire In Me': Shelton On Heated Match And Opponent's Behaviour In Rome

'That Ignited Fire In Me': Shelton On Heated Match And Opponent's Behaviour In Rome

by Zachary Wimer

Ben Shelton clashed with Pavel Kotov at the 2024 Italian Open, but he admitted after the match that he doesn't mind a bit of rough competition.

The American is no stranger to on-court drama, even though he's not a particularly controversial player. He brings a lot of passion and loves to win, which will obviously elevate the emotions during a match.

Things can flare up when he faces a player who brings something similar to the court. That's what happened against Kotov, who certainly didn't mind being the bad guy.

When they clashed at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, the Russian gave Shelton the 'No' finger wag and intentionally left him waiting on his serve. For this, he received a time warning, which wasn't his first, so he also received a point penalty.

Seemingly, he did everything possible to annoy Shelton. After the match, in his talk with Prakash Amritraj of the Tennis Channel, Shelton admitted that he didn't mind the nature of the match.

"I just think it was a highly contested tennis match. I think once you saw the handshake, once the match was over, it was over. It wasn't like there was anything left to be said. He gave me a couple of these (finger waging to suggest 'NO'), so that kind of ignited the fire in me, and I think it's part of the sport."

Shelton has had these moments in the past, and it's just part of the sport for him. He had a brush-off with Novak Djokovic during their US Open semi-final match, but that's just tennis. A lot is at stake in these matches so emotions will run high.

"Things aren't always going to perfect and playing clapping when you hit a great shot though it's av ery nice touch. We're not competing for a lot out there. I have no issues with having a match like that."


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