Novak Djokovic has confirmed his sporting talents go beyond the tennis court in an impressive appearance in an All-Star game ahead of the Ryder Cup.
Djokovic was part of Colin Montgomerie’s team of stars, which also included Champions League legend Gareth Bale in an event played on the course that will host the Ryder Cup this weekend.
Djokovic and Welsh football great Bale shared some exchanges on the practice ranges with the ex-footballer urging the tennis icon to keep his head still during his swing.
Bale is a renowned golf lover and was often accused of putting his love for the game ahead of his football career in the final years of his trophy-laden career.
Djokovic appeared surprised when Bale started offering advice on his golf swing and even joked whether he took cash or card by way of payment.
The sporting greats then joined forces to display their golfing skills in front of a huge crowd at the course and a big audience watching on TV around the world.
The event started with Djokovic entertaining the crowds in Italy as he swung his club on the opening tee, deliberately missing the ball and drawing big cheers from the packed stands.
He also joked with the crowds by pulling his familiar Head tennis racket out of his golf bag and threatening to hit a golf ball with his more familiar sporting weapon.
When the action got underway, Djokovic confirmed he had plenty of golfing skill, with the highlight of his round coming at the challenging 16th hole.
Amateur golfers are likely to favour a cautious approach to this hole with the threat of a water trap looming large, yet Djokovic hit a sparkling drive that ended up on the green, drawing huge cheers from the crowds.
He toasted the moment by taking a leave out of football icon Cristiano Ronaldo’s copybook as he performed his ‘Siu’ celebration.
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 27, 2023
Djokovic’s high profile appearance on a golf course gave sports fans a chance to get a glimpse of him in a less formal setting, with his appearances on a tennis court always laced with tension.
Many have suggested the Serbian’s often doomed battle to win the sporting popularity war is due to his aggressive on-court demeanour, as he screams at members of his coaching and fitness team throughout matches.
His Ryder Cup appearance also allowed Djokovic to show a more jovial side to his nature and this is how he could win over some of his doubters.
Tennis365.com attended an ASICS event with Djokovic prior to last summer’s Wimbledon Championships and his warm and friendly nature confirmed this sporting giant has a side to his personality that many never see.
He is also engaging an compelling speaker in his press conference appearances, which are again reserved for a few brief clips that appear on social media platforms.If Djokovic was willing to allow the mask he needs to wear on court to slip more often in public, the negative perception some have of this tennis legend may be revised.