Djokovic Surprises ATP And NHL Stars In Ball Hockey Game
Serbian tries his hand at Canada’s national game
Novak Djokovic knows the Roger Cup Centre Court inside and out. On Sunday, the three-time champion returned to those familiar confines, but in a different context.
“It was a unique opportunity to share an experience with [NHL players] in their environment,” said Djokovic, who traded his tennis racquet for a hockey stick in joining the annual exhibition ball hockey game alongside professional hockey players Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and other NHLers. ATP World Tour players represented at the event were Denis Kudla, John Millman, Andrey Kuznetsov and the young Canadian trio of Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin. “At the same time, it was not an ice rink, so it allowed me and the other tennis players to move around freely. It was the first time that I played hockey, ice rink or not.”
The organisers did not take it easy on the World No. 1, putting him on the spot by making him immediately take a penalty shot, which the goaltender saved. A second attempt beat the netminder, but hit the crossbar and narrowly stayed outside of the goal.
“I enjoyed it, you don’t get these opportunities too often, so I tried to make the best out of it,” said Djokovic, who just missed converting on two other scoring chances during the match, which finished in a tie.