Jenson Brooksby booked his spot in the final of the 2022 Atlanta Open on Saturday, beating compatriot Frances Tiafoe in straight sets in the semifinals. The sixth seed looked at ease all throughout, wrapping up the clash 6-1, 6-4 without breaking a sweat.
After the win, Brooksby celebrated by mimicking LeBron James' signature celebration -- stamping on the ground with his feet while imploring the audience to pipe down. The move did not go down well with tennis fans on social media, who chastised the World No. 43 for being disrespectful towards his opponent.
Since it is a celebration that is often copied by Tiafoe himself, users on Twitter saw Jenson Brooksby's actions as an intentional dig at his fellow American. The World No. 29, who usually greets his opponents at the net with a big hug, had nothing more than a cold handshake for the 21-year-old, adding more fuel to the fire that he indeed felt disrespected by Brooksby's actions.
One fan was of the opinion that the American would never earn respect on the ATP tour if he kept this up, adding that his behavior was particularly bad coming against someone as likable as Frances Tiafoe. The tweet read:
"Big Fo is one of THE best in taking a loss. Brooksby rubbing it in speaks to his lack of respect...something he'll likely never earn if he keeps this up. Let's see him do this IF he ever gets close to beating a top five guy."
Another fan remarked that, as good as the 21-year-old's tennis was, his antics on the court made it difficult to root for him and tweeted:
"Can’t put my finger on it, but Brooksby is pretty unlikeable. Excessive grunts midpoint are pretty poor, which he did multiple times. Seems like a weird guy, albeit a real tough out on hard surface."
Here are some more reactions from fans:
"It's just in the moment stuff really, I was really pumped" - Jenson Brooksby on why he did the LeBron James 'Silencer' celebration
Speaking at his press conference afterwards, Jenson Brooksby clarified why he did the LeBron James 'Silencer' celebration, saying that it was not meant as a slight against Frances Tiafoe. The American remarked that it was just a spur-of-the-moment decision and that he was simply too pumped at the time, declaring that there was no ill-intent of any kind towards his compatriot.
"It's just in the moment stuff really. I was really pumped. Sometimes I think those things are a little over-looked into. I was just pumped to get through that. It's as simple as that," Jenson Brooksby said.
Up next, the World No. 43 will lock horns with Australian Alex de Minaur in the final of the 2022 Atlanta Open. The World No. 30 is yet to face the American on the ATP tour to date, meaning that the duo will be meeting for the first time on Sunday.