Ben Shelton’s Gracious Shanghai Masters Act Stirs Up a Gripping Reaction From Tennis Legend Martina Navratilova

Published 10/13/2023, 11:50 AM EDT

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People enjoy watching rivalries and the immense on-court action with some excited celebrations. But sometimes, besides the heat of competition, players present a humble side, honoring the true spirit of sportsmanship. American tennis player Ben Shelton laid a similar example recently. Often, Shelton is known to create a divisive outlook amongst the fans. His animated celebrations & antics on the court like in his US Open semi-final loss against Novak Djokovic. Fast forward to Shanghai, & the 21-year-old seems to have brought a different side of him.

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With a remarkable performance at the Laver Cup 2023 and the ongoing Shanghai Masters, Ben Shelton got his name into the highlights. As the young tennis star played a match against Sebastian Korda, he presented a great gesture during the match. Despite a disappointing defeat in the quarter-finals, his positive gesture won the hearts of not just the fans but tennis legends like Martina Navratilova.

American tennis legend appreciates Ben Shelton for his positive gesture

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The prestigious event Shanghai Masters fell no short of serving fans with great entertainment, Ben Shelton’s face-off against the talented Sebastian Korda had all eyes on it. The match was intense, with every point crucial for both players. Later, a moment of extraordinary sportsmanship by the young American from Georgia set this match apart. The umpire denied a ball challenged by Korda, to which Ben came forward and asked the official to go ahead with it.

The 21-year-old, denying the facts of him being a young player focusing on his victories, presented a positive gesture of fair play as he said, “I saw him. You can give him the challenge” to the umpire.

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The gesture gained even more attention as the 18-time Grand Slam winner Martina Navratilova presented applause to the rising star with the help of a tweet. This became a point of recognition and an achievement more valuable than victory, despite some criticism from fans.

Navratilova’s response to the 21-year-old wasn’t the only time she came forward to encourage young talents. Her frequent presence in the courts and on social media keeps setting points of upliftment for enthusiasts.

Martina Navratilova’s Praise for sportsmanship

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Ben Shelton’s gesture in Shanghai is just one of many instances where the legendary tennis figure Martina Navratilova encouraged players for their behavior and performance on the court. One such incident took place at the Miami Open, where Navratilova presented her support for Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rybakina. Along with that, she also praised the current World No. 1 Iga Swiatek for her performance at the French Open 2022. Congratulating the Polish tennis star on her victory, she mentioned, “She looks unbeatable on any surface.”

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These examples clearly depict how legends like Martina Navratilova appreciate and celebrate the moments when tennis goes beyond just a competitive sport and becomes a platform of respect, kindness, and fair play. With Ben Shelton’s disappointing exit from the tournament, Korda now looks forward to the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters.

WATCH THIS STORY | Serena Williams pays tribute to Roger Federer.

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Written by:

Akshay Kapoor

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Akshay Kapoor is a tennis writer at Essentially Sports. With a commendable 1.5 years of experience under his belt, this maestro of words spent half of that time honing his craft in the niche world of tennis news writing.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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