Named after two-time Calendar Grand Slam winner Rod Laver, the Laver Cup pits Team Europe against Team World across three days of competition.
The fourth edition of the exciting team tournament was due to be held this week at TD Garden in Boston but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event has been rescheduled for 24-26 September 2021.
ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the event.
A Thrilling Format
Each team consists of six players, with the top three available players from each region, according to the FedEx ATP Rankings, joining three Team Captain picks. Team Europe and Team World are led by Sweden’s Bjorn Borg and the United States’ John McEnroe, respectively.
The competition takes place across three days, with each day consisting of three singles matches and one doubles encounter. Each match win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday. The first team to 13 points wins the Laver Cup. In the event of a 12-12 tie at the end of the final day, the tournament will be decided by a one-set deciding doubles clash.
Federer, Nadal Lead Team Europe To Victory
At the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal guided Team Europe to a 15-9 win. On Day Two of the event, both Federer and Nadal won singles matches before returning to the court to compete as a doubles team for the first time.
The pair made a seamless transition from rivals to teammates in the Czech capital, overcoming Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5. The victory earned Team Europe a commanding 9-3 advantage heading into the final day of action.
“I am very happy with how we played,” said Federer. “It was so much fun. The preparation with Rafa, going through the motions, talking tactics, talking about which side to play on, all these things are very special. I am very happy that the one match we did play so far we did win.”
Just 24 hours later, Federer entered the final match of the event against Nick Kyrgios with Team Europe leading 12-9. After rallying from a set down, Federer recovered from a 5/8 deficit in the Match Tie-break to claim victory. The Swiss saved a match point at 8/9 and earned the trophy for Team Europe when Kyrgios fired a cross-court forehand into the net. After 172 points, Federer and Kyrgios ended the contest with 86 points each.
“The boys played fantastic all weekend, but we knew it could change very quickly on Sunday,” said Federer. “The Team World boys have been great, in the doubles especially, and we knew it was going to be tough. I was looking at getting ready for a doubles at the very end. I’m very pleased and relieved that we did win the singles and got it done.”
Zverev Earns Victory For Team Europe In Chicago
Matched only by Federer, Alexander Zverev earned five points for Team Europe at the 2018 Laver Cup in Chicago. The German finished the event with a 2-0 singles record, highlighted by his tournament-winning victory against Kevin Anderson on the final day.
Zverev entered his clash against Anderson with Team Europe leading Team World 10-8, but the South African made the quicker start as he attempted to push the contest to a winner-takes-all singles match between Novak Djokovic and Kyrgios. Zverev held his nerve in important moments to turn the match in his favour and clinched the trophy when Anderson fired long with a backhand return in the Match Tie-break.
“It was such a close match all around, not only this one but all weekend, a few points here and there and it could have been different,” said Zverev. “I’m just happy to get the win and we defended the title, that’s the most important thing.”
A European Hat-trick In Geneva
For the first time in tournament history, a winner-takes-all match was needed at the 2019 Laver Cup in Geneva. After two matches on the final day, Team World led Team Europe 11-7 with two singles matches to play. If the visiting team won either match, they would become Laver Cup champions.
Backed by a passionate home crowd, Federer kept Team Europe’s hopes of a third straight title alive with a straight-sets victory against John Isner. That win forced the event to a decisive singles contest between Zverev and Milos Raonic.
For the second straight year, Zverev handled the pressure well to complete a memorable comeback for Team Europe. Zverev and Raonic split the opening two sets, which meant the outcome of the tournament rested on a Match Tie-break.
After receiving words of inspiration from Federer and Nadal in the locker room, Zverev rose to the challenge to claim the trophy under intense pressure. The German earned the title on his first match point with a cross-court passing shot winner.
“It was an unbelievable weekend. Those guys [Federer and Nadal] were screaming at me in the locker room before the Match Tie-break, saying this is how I could turn my season around. Without all of these guys on the bench, I couldn’t have done it,” said Zverev. “This is very special, especially playing in front of those guys and having them trust me to play the last match.”