"Ben is truly a good friend": Arthur Fils praises Ben Shelton for his Japan Open victory after their camera-lens messaging

Arthur Fils has praised Ben Shelton after the latter's victory at the Japan Open, during which the two shared messages via the camera lens as Fils competed at the European Open in Antwerp.

21-year-old Shelton achieved a major milestone at the ATP 500 tournament in Tokyo when he won his first ATP title. The American player overcame some tight battles against Taro Daniel, Jordan Thompson, Tommy Paul, and Marcos Giron to set up a clash with Aslan Karatsev in the final.

Once there, he defeated the Russian player in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, before leaving a message for his friend Fils on the camera.

"Show me something Arthur," he wrote.

Fils shares heartfelt message despite final defeat

Shelton was referring to the fact that 19-year-old Fils copied the former's iconic phone pose after his semi-final win at the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium. Shelton gained a lot of media attention for miming picking up a receiver phone and hanging up after his win against Frances Tiafoe in the US Open quarter-finals last month.

Since then, multiple players have imitated the move after their own victories at various tournaments. Fils became the latest after he downed top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final of the ATP 250 tournament. Therefore, Shelton's message acted as encouragement for Fils to win his own final against Alexander Bublik.

Unfortunately, though, Fils was defeated by Bublik 4-6, 4-6, but the French player still had kind words for his friend.

"Ben is truly a good friend. I saw he won his first title, it's great. Well, today I couldn't show him great things," he said.

Fils went on to express his hopes for Shelton to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin after the American earned enough points from his victory in Tokyo to keep an outside chance of qualification alive.

"Anyway, I saw that he can still qualify for the Finals, and I wish him to get there," Fils continued.

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