A little late to the party here but the first ever Laver Cup saw Team Europe triumph over Team World in Prague 15-9 after Fed sealed the tie with a 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 11-9 victory over Nick Kyrgios on Sunday.
Rather than do a recap of Federer's matches I thought I'd just give some quick thoughts on the Laver Cup and then the comments section can takeover as I'm interested to hear what people think of it all. The reason I didn't post during the event with any updates is because I was in Prague over the weekend to watch so I saw it all first hand which probably makes me somewhat biased 🙂 . However, based on my Twitter feed it's been very well received by fans across the world so I'm interested to hear what you guys think.
Quick Event Recap
For those who weren't following, the competition is loosely based on the Ryder Cup but with an incremental point scoring system. One point is awarded for wins on Day 1, two points for wins on day two and then three points for victories on day 3.
Europe got off to a flying start winning 3 of the 4 matches on both Day 1 and Day 2 to lead 9-3 but with the points system designed to ensure Sunday's play won't be a formality things got interesting after Team World won the opening doubles and then Isner beat Nadal to close the gap to 12-9. That gave Kyrgios the chance to force a deciding doubles 1 set shootout if he beat Roger. However, Federer saved match point and won 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 11-9 and then the celebrations kicked off in style.
|Marin Cilic (Europe) def. Frances Tiafoe (World) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0)||1-0|
|Dominic Thiem (Europe) def. John Isner (World) 6-7 (17-15) 7-6 (7-2) 1-0 (10-7)||2-0|
|Alexander Zverev (Europe) def. Denis Shapovalov (World) 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5)||3-0|
|Nick Kyrgios & Jack Sock (World) def. Tomas Berdych & Rafael Nadal (Europe) 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 1-0 (10-7)||3-1|
|Roger Federer (Europe) def. Sam Querrey (World) 6-2 6-4||5-1|
|Rafael Nadal (Europe) def. Jack Sock (World) 6-3 3-6 1-0 (11-9)||7-1|
|Nick Kyrgios (World) def. Tomas Berdych (Europe) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 1-0 (10-6)||7-3|
|Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal (Europe) def. Sam Querrey & Jack Sock (World) 6-4 1-6 1-0 (10-5)||9-3|
|Jack Sock & John Isner (World) def. Tomas Berdych & Marin Cilic (Europe) 7-6 7-6||9-6|
|Alexander Zverev (Europe) def. Sam Querrey (World) 6-4 6-4||12-6|
|John Isner (World) def. Rafael Nadal (Europe) 7-5 7-6||12-9|
|Roger Federer (Europe) def. Nick Kyrgios (World) 4-6 7-6 1-0 (11-9)||15-9|
Final Score: Team Europe 15 – 9 Team World
Thoughts on the Laver Cup
I was lucky enough to be there for all three days of the event so I had a live taste of what the tournament is all about. Unfortunately, I had to leave on Sunday afternoon so missed Federer's match with Kyrgios but I caught it all on live stream at the airport, so the positive side of that is that I also got to see how it came across on TV with the commentary etc.
In terms of the live stuff, arriving at the o2 on Friday I wasn't really sure what to expect. Would it be competitive? Was it going to be an exhibition with players larking around on the court like the IPTL? Both those questions were answered in the opening match between Cilic and Tiafoe (full crowd for a 1pm start which is rare) which saw both of them play hard from the off. There were no exhibition shots or tippy tappy rallies with pointless lobs to get tweeners in play and that set the tone for the rest of weekend with every match being serious business. The doubles naturally had a more relaxed vibe to it especially with Fedal giggling between points but when it came down to the bigger points it was very much about zoning in and trying to get that first serve and volley winner into play.
Looking at the event in isolation and treating it as just a ‘one off', then it gets a big thumbs up from me. I thought it was very well presented; Prague's location, public transport, and venue was certainly a great choice, the new camera angles worked, the 10 point tie break format adds a little bit of late drama with momentum swings, the sponsor stuff was subtle with no masses of branding plastered all around the arena and it was just all around a well-polished affair. That was always likely to be the case with high-profile backers and plenty cash on offer to get things sorted. But the fact the players looked invested on court, engaged on the bench and backstage without things feeling too contrived certainly made Laver Cup feel like it wasn't just some novelty event and that bodes well for next year in Chicago.
If you look at it long term then I think it's just too soon to tell. The dust needs to settle first and then see if people are still talking about it in 6 months and how well the next two or three play out. Based on year one, then you have to say the odds are in it's favour to be a regular fixture. I think the venues, fan friendliness etc. will always take care of themselves due to the folks behind it, the yardstick going forward is always going to be the players that play and the quality of tennis on offer. We might not ever really know how important the Laver Cup can be until Federer and Nadal aren't actually playing in it but if future tournaments keep pace with the first iteration then I think it has a place in the game.
Anyway, what did you guys think of the Laver Cup? Sold on the concept? Or not a fan? If you were at the venue (I know many of you were as I met up with a few people from the blog 😉 ), what did you think? How did it come across on TV for those watching at home? Let me know in the comments.