Aussie cricket champion Steve Smith has dropped Novak Djokovic’s jaw after he returned a full-pace serve from the World No. 1 on his first try.
Smith technically won the point as well as he landed the ball in the back of Djokovic’s point as the Serbian superstar looked on mouth agape.
While it’s hardly a surprise that Smith was comfortable hitting a serve when he regularly deals with 140km/h cricket balls whizzing around his ears but the return certainly took Djokovic by surprise.
It earned a smile from Smith as Djokovic applauded and then bowed down to the cricket star.
Earlier in the night, Nine host James Bracey said that he’d seen Smith, who is known for his shadow batting, “practising his tennis swing”.
“I did play cricket in Perth last week on the beach,” Djokovic said.
“So I don’t know if you can count that really as real cricket but I hit a couple of sixes, a couple of fours, and I had many missed balls as well.
“So I guess … you know, heading up against him will be tough.
Smith confirmed he had been warming up out the back.
He also paid tribute to Djokovic.
“I’ve been lucky to come down here on a few occasions, and I have actually seen Novak play here,” Smith said.
“He’s great to watch. They move so gracefully around the court and you see the ball flying at good pace. It’s great fun to watch.”
While there was some tennis, with Djokovic beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 in a one-set exhibition, before a fun miked up mixed doubles match with Tsitsipas, Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka, as well as Aussie wheelchair tennis star Heath Davidson in a fun night of tennis.
Smith, 800m runner Peter Bol, gymnast Georgia Godwin, and Allen Williams from the NBL’s South East Melbourne Phoenix all challenged Djokovic to sample their sports, as well as face a serve from 24-time champion.
After showing off his flexibility with Godwin, dunking with Williams and trying to keep up with Bol, Smith came out for a cricket segment, while Shane Warne’s son Jackson also came out for festivities.
After launching Djokovic into the crowd, the tennis star got his own back, launching both Smith and Warne into the crowd as well.
When the tables were turned however, Smith left the tennis champion stunned with his skill, even earning the comment: “It’s no fun when you’re good Steve”.
The event raised money for the Australian Tennis Foundation, which has provided more than 49,000 opportunities for disadvantaged kids to play the sport.
The AO Opening Week has seen a series of charity matches with Alex de Minaur facing World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday, while the Spaniard will double up with another match against Caspar Ruud on Friday ahead of the start of the Australian Open on Sunday.
Originally published as Steve Smith wins point against Novak Djokovic as sporting worlds collide