Sunday 25 March 2018

Video - Brian O'Driscoll takes up tennis and admits: "I have turned into an old man"

Picture: @LiveatWimbledon
Picture: @LiveatWimbledon
Brian O'Driscoll, pictured centre, during his time with Ireland
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Brian O’Driscoll sometimes thinks he can play a part in Ireland’s rugby World Cup campaign this year, but for now the retired legend is happy to play a bit of tennis.

O’Driscoll is almost a full season out of the game now and while he has no intentions of dusting down the boots again, he has said that retirement can be tough at times because there is “always a little bit of you that is thinking could I still be there?”

The former Leinster captain has swapped the muddy rugby pitches for the lush lawns of Wimbledon this week and, right now, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Not only is O’Driscoll getting to see the world’s best tennis players in action on Centre Court, he even got to have a game with Tim Henman.

Joe Schmidt’s Irish warriors go into this September’s World Cup without the greatest rugby player this country has ever produced but expectations are at an all-time high.

While rallies with Henman will keep O’Driscoll occupied this week, he does admit that retirement has its downfalls.

“I am a full season finished from the game so I am starting to enjoy retirement a little bit more and separation from the team. Will I miss the World Cup? Of course I will because a little bit of you is thinking 'could I still be there',” O’Driscoll told Robin Bailey on earlier today.

“Once that is done I think I can look back as a proper fan and enjoy it like a proper fan. In the interim, to be able to come and do things likes this, watch Wimbledon on Centre Court, It can’t be all bad.”

Following Ireland’s dramatic Six Nations success - which came on the back of a clean sweep in the Autumn Series – confidence has never been higher going into a World Cup.

O’Driscoll insists there is good reason for high expectations, but has also urged caution and cites 2007 as a reason to keep our feet on the ground for now.

“I think Ireland can win it. They need a lot of stars to align for it to happen, they need a lot of luck,” he added.

“They have to win their pool and they have to get a lot of luck. We kind of made a big shout about competing in 2007 and we didn’t get out of our Pool so I am cautious with saying how much I think our opportunities are there but this coaching team, married with the players that are there, I think we have a real chance if we get a bit of luck.”

O’Driscoll may have been a world powerhouse during his time on the rugby pitch but don’t expect a breakthrough with a racket and tennis ball.

“I have turned into an old man,” joked BOD.

“I was getting a little bit of a lesson from Tim Henman, it’s very inspiring down here.

“There are Irish everywhere. We are inviting people to come along and have a little knock up with us. Myself and Tim have worked with HSPC for a few years so we get to do great fun things.

“We had a skills shot and trick expert showing us a few things to do. We absolutely couldn’t replicate it, these guys have ridiculous talents so we were made fools of with cameras sticking in front of us.”

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