Castroneves takes on Clijsters in tennis, driving

3/21/2007 - Tennis

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves is a pretty good tennis player, but he might not be quite ready for the professional circuit.

Castroneves challenged elite women's player Kim Clijsters to an exhibition match at Crandon Park in Miami. He even managed to take a couple points from the former U.S. Open champion during their 12-point tiebreak.

But the Brazilian driver, who now makes his home in Miami, quickly turned the tables on Clijsters when the two raced IndyCar Series simulators. After claiming victory, Castroneves talked a little trash, telling Clijsters: "This is my world."

Later, Castroneves said, "Obviously, Kim is an incredible athlete and she was obviously toying with me in tennis. I'm always impressed with the pro tennis players' ability to focus with 40,000 fans looking at them. In racing, you have the engine noise and a helmet, so it's just you."

Clijsters, fifth in the latest WTA rankings, said she enjoyed being a fish out of water in the race car and meeting Castroneves.

"They told me I was going to play an Xbox game, but that is a different kind of controller than what I was used to," said Clijsters, who handed Castroneves her steering wheel as a trophy. "I enjoy meeting other athletes and seeing how they prepare for their sports."

Castroneves and the rest of the IndyCar drivers will open their 17-race season Saturday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Indy 300.