McIlroy trades clubs for racket in NY exhibition

NEW YORK - Golf's new world number one Rory McIlroy tried his hand at a different sport on Monday, winning a rally against Maria Sharapova during his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki's tennis exhibition.

Dane Wozniacki summoned McIlroy from his courtside seat at Madison Square Garden and handed him the racket in a lighthearted moment before the final game of her match, which she lost 6-3 6-4.

McIlroy resisted at first but then placed the tennis ball down on the blue surface, addressed it as if hitting a golf chip shot, then picked it up and started a friendly rally with the number-two ranked Sharapova.

After trading some gentle shots, the Russian sent an overhand long to the delight of the crowd and McIlroy quit while he was ahead, scurrying back to his seat.

McIlroy, who rose to the top of the world rankings after winning the Honda Classic in Florida on Sunday, told reporters at the BNP Paribas Showdown it was "nice to take a little break from golf".

The Northern Irishman, who was besieged by autograph hunters during changeovers, acknowledged he was not quite ready to eclipse Wozniacki in the world rankings.

"Another couple of years," said the curly-haired 22 year old.

Wozniacki said she did not send McIlroy candy or flowers after his Sunday victory. "I don't want his head to become too big, so no," she joked.

American Andy Roddick finished up the program by beating Roger Federer 7-5 7-6.