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THE INAUGURAL LAVER CUP
The 2017 Laver Cup was the first edition of the Laver Cup, a men’s tennis tournament which saw a team from Europe compete against a team from the rest of the world.
It was held at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic from 22nd until 24th September. The European team was made up of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Čilić, Dominic Thiem and Tomáš Berdych; a quite formidable line-up.
The rest of the world team boasted the likes of Nick Kyrgios, John Isner, Jack Sock, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe, and Denis Shapovalov with Milos Raonic and Juan Martin Del Potro pulling out as they we were initially in the six players chosen.
Former professionals and rivals Björn Borg (Europe) and John McEnroe (World) were acting as captains for the 2017 edition.
Just as the final day drew to a close, it was announced that the 2018 edition of the Laver Cup will be held in Chicago, at the world famous, United Center.
Team World will have the home court advantage come September 2018 and will count on the energy of the passionate Chicago sports fans. Chicago is seen as a sports mad City with the likes of the Blackhawks, Cubs, Bulls and White socks all drawing huge support for every game.
FEDERER & NADAL: THE DREAM COMBO
For the first time ever, one of the fiercest rivals of modern times were one the same side of the tennis court; Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Swiss Federer and Spaniard Nadal, who have won 35 Grand Slam titles between them beat Americans Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4 1-6 10-5 to give Team Europe a then, 9-3 lead.
“We will always be rivals as long as we are active. And after this we will be rivals again,” said the Swiss No.1.
“But this was something very special. Knowing you can trust him in the big moments, seeing his decision-making, seeing his thought process, it was very interesting”. Nadal later added to Federer’s quotes saying “To have the possibility to have Roger next to me is a huge privilege… something I wanted to make happen at some point and today I made it happen”.
These two superpowers of men’s tennis to form a team is extremely daunting for any opposing team.
The two greatest players of the last 15-20 years coming together, nearly creates a non-event.
Who could even stop them from outside or indeed within Europe?
I’m sure Murray and Tsonga would put up a fight but could anyone really see a winner besides the Swiss and Spaniard? Fortunes contrasted for the pair when they played in the singles matches.
Federer went to a match tie-break with Nick Kyrgios, who had a chance to force a deciding doubles contest but, Federer saved match point and won 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 11-9 to spark wild celebrations from the European bench. John Isner beat Rafael Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-1) to close the areas somewhat but it meant little in the end.
TEAM EUROPE BEAT TEAM WORLD
Team Europe beat Team World 15-9 to win the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague. The competition, which follows a similar format to the Ryder Cup.
There was one point awarded for victories on day one, two for wins on day two and three for victories on the final day.
“It has been such an amazing and fun week and I’m so pleased the event has worked as it has,” said the 36-year-old Swiss.
The players found this tournament to boast relations between some fierce competitors and it gave them a chance to casually hang out, something which is very rare on the ATP scene.
Usually rivals show respect to each other whether it be on it court or with the media but this tournament offered something completely unique. The Ryder Cup has shown the way for an inter-continental tournament.
For golfers, it is a real opportunity to show their pride in representing their continent with fellow Europeans/Americans.
The Laver Cup has had a terrific inaugural tournament and will hope to go from strength to strength in the future. With the help of T.V deals and sponsorships, it should be a world-wide spectacle for all to enjoy.