Who knew that part of top-flight NHL goalie Henrik Lundqvist’s off-season training included playing alongside the current and former elite of the men’s tennis scene?
But there he was, King Henrik, teaming with close friend and former world No. 1 John McEnroe competing against current No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Academy Award nominee Edward Norton in a charity match for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project, which introduces tennis to kids in the greater New York area by providing scholarships, coaching and financial assistance.
For those who don’t know, Lundqvist played nearly as much tennis as he did hockey growing up in Sweden. The New York Rangers netminder got back into the sport six years ago.
Lundqvist says his quick lateral and up-and-down movements on the tennis court have him using the same muscles as he does while tending goal for the 2014 Stanley Cup finalist Rangers.
“One-on-one, it’s a great battle, but also the physical aspect,” Lundqvist told reporters in New York. “It’s a perfect fit for me when it comes to training.”
Off the court at the charity event, Lundqvist signed autographs, posed for pictures and auctioned off special ticket packages to Rangers games.
He’ll be at training camp in less than a month, hoping to start down a path that includes another trip to the Cup final following a heartbreaking double overtime loss to the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 in June.