The fourth edition of the Laver Cup kicked off yesterday, and just like the previous years, it was Team Europe who got off to a better start, winning all 3 of their singles matches before Team USA picked up a point from the doubles.
With Federer and Nadal out injured, Djokovic regrouping in the Serbian mountains, a new-look team Europe with debutants Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini joining Sascha Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to complete the lineup.
However, while he is not fit to play, Federer was courtside on Day 1 to watch the opening days play and fulfilled several sponsor/media commitments.
Considering both Uniqlo and On Running were announced as clothing and shoe partners respectively last week, and he's essentially the driving force behind the Laver Cup, it wasn't a huge surprise to see him make the trip over the Atlantic along with Severin Luthi.
The Swiss has given a few small interviews, but these were purely around the Laver Cup itself and not his own rehabilitation schedule.
However, he's still on crutches, at least some of the time. Mainly when the cameras aren't rolling, so stepping back on the court looks to be a fair way off.
Will the Laver Cup Prove Popular in 2021?
This year looks to be the acid test for the Laver Cup, as with no Federer or Nadal in the team, it lacks that big name.
Last year's cancellation also took away some momentum from the tournament, so I'm interested in seeing how it does with television audiences.
Based on the bits I saw of the first day, the crowd looked to be into it, and feedback on social media looks good so far.
The quality of tennis was also high, and the Rublev vs Schwartzman match had some quality shotmaking from both with the scoreboard constantly flipping.
I also wonder how popular it is proving in Russia, given their two biggest names are playing, albeit with not the friendliest time difference.
One thing I can never get behind, though, is the medical apartheid ticketing rules.
To enter, fans need proof of full vaccination at least 14 days after the second dose (yes, another medical definition has been rewritten, you are now only vaccinated 14 days after your second dose) or a negative test to prove your health status.
Fans also have to wear a mask inside except when eating or drinking. Because of The Science™.
I should note that these rules are enforced by the City of Boston and not the Laver Cup itself.
Had it been held in a country or state that isn't practising epidemiological nonsense, of which there aren't many, I'd like to think it would be open as normal, but who knows 🙂
Did you guys watch any of the Laver Cup opening day? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.