The stars of the ATP Tour are used to competing on the tennis court, but not in the way they did on Saturday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers.
Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Tommy Paul, Alex Molcan, Emil Ruusuvuori, Harri Heliovaara and Andreas Mies took on National Hockey League players, including Calgary Flames star Jonathan Huberdeau, in the annual game of ball hockey contested at the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 event.
It was no surprise that the professional hockey players — Huberdeau, Zachary L’Heureux, Marc-Edouard Classic, Jonathan Drouin and Olympic gold medalist in women’s hockey, Melodie Daoust — dominated the action. But there was fun for all involved, especially the tennis players who are hockey fans, like Ruusuvuori.
“I love both. I used to play quite a bit [of hockey] with my friends when I was younger. I love sports. I still follow and I have a lot of friends playing, also in the NHL. I love both sports and it was really fun today to play with these guys,” Ruusuvuori said. “It was really cool.”
Huberdeau, who was tied for second in the National Hockey League in points last season with 115, is the “Hubi” of the NHL. The Flame even took a photo with the ATP’s “Hubi”, Hurkacz.
“It was a lot of fun. What you guys are doing, it’s a joke. It’s so hard. I’m just struggling to follow somehow the ball,” Hurkacz said. “t’s really amazing.”
Hubert Hurkacz” />
Photo Credit: ATP Tour
“I think these guys are just athletes and they’re talented in every sport, you can tell,” Huberdeau replied. “I’m a big tennis fan. It’s the same thing when you guys play, I think it’s impressive.”
Now, the tennis players will return to their day jobs with the tennis main draw set to begin on Monday.
“I’m definitely better at tennis, but it’s nice to play hockey because I never do it,” Paul said. “This was probably the first time I’ve done it since I was four years old. It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun.”