Tennis star Djokovic takes on Abrams tank in epic match

A clever video uses special effects to pit a top tennis player against a surprisingly agile, racket-wielding tank.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser

This tank was designed for off-road performance, but can it handle a clay court? Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The M1 Abrams tank is an icon of American military might. It's a lumbering monster of a war machine, fitted with massive treads and a very large gun. It's not the sort of vehicle you would expect to see dancing around a tennis court, returning volleys with precision and grace.

Writer and director Michael Shanks made the impossible seem possible with a short video pitting an Abrams against the current Association of Tennis Professionals' No. 1 tennis player in the world: Novak Djokovich. He has his hands full with the swift vehicle, which rattles around the court, returning his strikes with power.

The visuals are fun, but the pitch-perfect commentary really brings it home. "Some said inviting a sentient tank in to play tennis would ruin the sport," one of the announcers opines. The tank's bad sportsmanship kicks into overdrive at the end of the match. Don't worry: No tennis players were harmed in the making of this film.

Shanks is an Australian independent filmmaker who clearly doesn't mind delving into the absurd. The video even includes a scoreboard showing Djokovich and the Abrams tied in a tight battle for tennis supremacy.

One minor detail you'll want to overlook is when the hushed commentator refers to the Abrams as a WWII tank. (It actually went into service in 1980.) But we can forgive the video for being more than a few decades off, because it's so darn entertaining.