Hockey Living: The King and his Tennis Court
It is no secret that Henrik Lundqvist and John MacEnroe are buddies, in fact they were teammates at the Johnny Mac Tennis Project charity game.
Lundqvist isn’t new to tennis; he says that he used to play in Sweden when he was younger, but got back into the game recently. Lundqvist told tennis.com, “I would say it’s more the last five, six years I’ve really played.” Lunqvist also says that during the summer he gets into the tennis court “four to five times a week.”
Lundqvist says that tennis keeps him ready for the NHL as certain aspects of the game are similar, he told reporters, “It’s a perfect fit for me when it comes to training.”
McEnroe was thrilled by Lundqvist’s participation in the event, telling the New York Post, “Henrik is such a phenomenal athlete and a better person, and coming back here early to support us means a lot,” McEnroe went on to say, “His tennis game is almost as good as what he does in net for the Rangers.”
The charity match didn’t dissapoint as Lundqvist and McEnroe dueled the tandem of Novak Djokovic and actor Edward Norton to a 9-8 set win.
Djokovic- Arguably the best tennis player in the world and easily the most talented player in the charity game.
Novak Djokovic, Image provided by thesportsalert.com
Norton- Just a decent Tennis player. Isn’t a phenomenal athlete as he isn’t a pro.
Team Analysis- Not bad, but it is obvious that Djokovic is carrying the squad. His incredible ability forces him to dictate the game as often as possible, while Norton tries to stay out of his way. Don’t be mistaken Norton isn’t a bad player he is just playing next to Novak Djokovic. For you hockey fans, it would be like putting an OHL caliber player next to Sidney Crosby.
Mcenroe– Like his counter part Djokovic, McEnroe must be the spine of the team, McEnroe was once an amazing player but like the everyone else he has aged. He is still the better player on the team.
Henrik Lundqvist and John McEnroe, Image provided by blueshirtsunited.com
Lundqvist– Henrik Lundqvist despite not being a professional tennis player was in my opinion the difference in the match. Lundqvist admits that he plays tennis on a somewhat regular basis and it shows. Aside from that when watching the video of his match you can see his concentration, reflexes, and amazing agility kick in. Though he isn’t a tennis expert he can still hold the fort.
Team Analysis- The team is well rounded, McEnore in his prime would undoubtedly be the better player, but his age has slowed him. Lundqvist has the speed and athleticism to pick up the garbage and provide a useful hand to McEnroe.
You can watch some video from the match provided by NHL.com here.
Lundqvist didn’t just leave tennis for the charity game, he says that he is a fan and will be headed out to the U.S. Open as he does every year. He tells tennis.com “I think it’s a great event for a lot of reasons, but number one is there are a lot of great tennis matches, so I love it.”
Lundqvist was also able to treat fans to photos, autographs, and he even auctioned off some Rangers tickets. Even though Lundqvist and John McEnroe secured the victory, the real winner is the game of tennis.