Sunday, March 27

Ocho Overshadows Other Crossover

It is entirely understandable that the media are all over the Chad Ochocinco (nee Johnson – he says he’s changing it back by the way) trial with Sporting Kansas City (nee Wizards/Wiz). He is a high-profile National Football League player that is currently in the media frenzy of the labor lockout. But it should be noted, though, that it is not the only sports crossover that took place this week. Tennis stars took the pitch Wednesday evening to play the Hope For Japan charity exhibition versus the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the new North American Soccer League.

And they weren’t just your run of the mill ATP World Tour players. Among the players in Miami for the Sony Ericsson Open that laced up their football boots for charity were Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the top two ranked players in the world. Andy Murray (ranked fifth) scored on of the two strikes for the tennis squad in the 5-2 result in favor of the professional footballers. Marco Baghdatis (24th) of Cyprus tallied the other goal from the penalty mark in the shortened 40-minute exhibition friendly.

While Ochocinco may be trying out for an MLS squad, the risk of injury is slight and carries with it the safety net that the season is months away, if not more given the NFL labor situation. These tennis stars were risking injury during a tournament in which even the slightest of ankle sprains could cost them on the court.