Djokovic swaps racket for driver for Ryder Cup round

September 28, 2023 12:06 pm

[Source: Reuters]

World number one tennis player Novak Djokovic is a six-time winner of the Rome Masters but on Wednesday he swapped his racket for a set of golf clubs to appear in the All-Star Match in the build-up to the 44th Ryder Cup.

The Serbian, who claimed a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title by winning the U.S. Open this month, was playing alongside world number one golfer with disabilities Kipp Popert as part of Colin Montgomerie’s team which also featured Gareth Bale.

With hundreds of fans in the stands and many more lining the fairway, Djokovic initially walked out to address his ball with a tennis racket, before switching to a driver.

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After a couple of practice swings were greeted with cries of “oles”, he sent his ball down the first fairway, puffing out his cheeks with relief and thumping his heart.

Djokovic and England’s Popert were up against Spain’s F1 driver Carlos Sainz who recently won the Singapore Grand Prix and Italian G4D golfer Tommaso Perrino.

They won 3-1 with Djokovic’s ‘shot of the day’ coming on the par-four 16th where he managed to drive the green from a slightly advanced tee — earning loud cheers from the galleries.

There were some duff shots too, including one failed attempt to hack out of the rough, but the Serb, who had some tips from former Real Madrid forward Bale and keen golfer before the contest, clearly enjoyed the change of scenery.

Although he admitted playing golf in front of large crowds was more daunting than battling on a packed Centre Court.