Laver CupRoger Federer

Team Europe Win Laver Cup in Chicago

Team Europe are Laver Cup champions for the second time after Sasha Zverev pulled off the win against Kevin Anderson 6-7(3) 7-5 10-7 to bag the winning points and seal a 13-8 victory for Team Europe at the United Center in Chicago.

After starting the day 7-5 ahead team Europe slipped behind for the first time in the match after Federer and Zverev lost a tight doubles match to Sock and Isner.  Roger then saved three match points en route to defeating John Isner in a dramatic match before Zverev sealed the deal in another close encounter.

Thoughts on Federer's Matches

Laver Cup Win

First up was the doubles with Zverev and it started fantastically for Team Europe as the Sasherer pairing gelled quickly to take the first set. However, in set two Sock, rated by many as the best doubles player in the world, upped his game, targetting Zverev as the weaker volleyer and as the match wore on the German stopped moving forward after missing a few volleys and that let Team World start dictating points. Although Europe held two match points with Fed staying sharp at the net Sock and Isner rallied to take it 4-6 7-6(2) 11-9.

That put Team World 8-7 in front with a possible three matches left to play. Roger was soon back on the court after the doubles to face Isner and it was a fairly dramatic match. The first set was all serving with neither guy making any inroads on the return, Roger dropped just 1 point en route to the tie-break but after going up a mini-break Isner reeled him in, dispatching a very tame second serve on set point to take it 7-5.

Into set two and Roger fashioned the first break points of the match at 3-3 but Isner erased them with his trademark serve. That put the pressure right back on Roger and at 4-5 Isner fired off a big winner to set up match point but Roger held and forced another tie-break. The breaker was nail-biter and Roger had to save two more match points, one with a clutch backhand pass:

 

Buoyed from the match point save Roger took the breaker 8-6 with an ace to force a ten point tiebreaker which he took charge of at 5 all to move 9-6 in front sealing his second match point to take it 10-7.

So quite a big win for Roger here, he looked quite nervous in the breakers and some of his forehands were seriously loopy on the big points but he somehow stuck in there and returned a huge out wide serve on match point. Bit of frame but the backhand pass was as clutch as it gets. About time he won a close one too so hopefully a win like this can help his cause for the indoor swing.

Also a word on Zverev, he showed some real mettle of his own, coming from a set down, saving some crucial break points in set two and coming from behind in the 10 point breaker to seal it. Impressive stuff.

Match Stats vs. Isner

R. Federer J. Isner
Aces 15 17
Double Faults 1 3
First Serve % in 74 68
Win % on 1st Serve 85 77
Win % on 2nd Serve 67 52
Net Points Won 14 21
Break Points Won 0 0
Receiving Points Won 28 16
Total Points Won 92 79

Highlights

Thoughts on the Laver Cup II

Laver Cup Champagne

I always thought we got along well and respect each other on and off the court but being able to support him, him supporting me, going through that process and talking tactics, talking team, talking who should play and just seeing what a leader also Novak can be, it’s been really nice and refreshing for me.

Having now watched the Laver Cup live last year and on TV this year I've seen it from both angles and I think it's great. I was impressed last year with the setup courtside and I thought it would be hard to outdo the first iteration but I think they managed it, the venue, the setup, the crowd, the coverage, the quality of matches and the team environment all came together perfectly to make a memorable weekend.

Watching on TV this time around the coverage on Amazon Prime was good, the Laver Cup social channels are very well run, the website is updated super quick with press conferences and following the event is easy. From the feedback I've seen it was equally as good live too with the practice court proving popular and everything looked to run like a well-oiled machine.

The players all seem invested in it too, of course, there are the same old clichés in the press about strengthening relationships and how well they all get on but that's born from rubbish questions. I just judge it from the tennis and when these guys are on the court they're playing tough and clearly want to win. I think they've got the balance of fun and competition down to a tee and I'm looking forward to next years in Geneva.

What did you guys think of the Laver Cup weekend? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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61 Comments

    1. First 🙂
      Thanks for the review, Jonathan. Spot on, well done.

      Enjoyed the Laver Cup this year. Glad I could catch Roger in action.
      He seemed to bounce back from the US Open and he played very good tennis. It was fun watching him play.

      I hope that like last year, LC will be a positive turning point in his season and he’ll manage to bag a few titles and most important play at a high level consistently.

      1. So maybe this time he’ll shave. 😉
        Some random thoughts about LC:
        Sock was team world MVP. Got them 6 of 8 points. Amazing how he dropped this year on singles but exceled on doubles. He’s so good as a doubles player.
        Sacha and Roger with 5 points each, were the key contributers and only guys from LC I for team europe.
        Maybe Roger trying to build Sacha to take down Rafa and Novak. 😉

  1. About the match against Isner, I will repost exactly the same sentence I posted 1 year ago after the match against Kyrgios:
    “Forgive me father, for I have doubted. Again!” HaHa.
    This was an impressive win, not from the standpoint of game play itself (I’ve seen much better), but in a harsh match that could have gone either way against a servebot, Fed grabbed it with steel claws and never let go until he won. His defense skills were just otherwordly, particularly a certain backhand slice shot from the other side of Michigan lake that sank on Isner’s backhand right after the net. You can’t get any more cirurgical than that.
    And also well played by Alex, although I think the point he was handed by the net strap near the end of set #2 was the turning point. Honestly, I thought he would sink after losing set #1.
    But yeah, a nice tennis propaganda week. Too bad the US haven’t been able to produce any top player after Agassi retired (Roddick wasn’t one, sorry).

  2. Watched only highlights but regret not having followed the TV-version. But the highlights showed Roger in very good form I think – he really seemed to enjoy it all, – and in the final press with a lot more of balanced mental strength than his old rival, even to tease him with a cheeky suggestion of going to vacation together – Djoker for sure revealed his not liking.. ? so this about getting closer in friendliness I don’t believe a bit regarding him, poor man. Well it is Roger’s creative project this successful LaverCup. So once again he is the indisputable center of attention and adore. And played wonderful, as we like it.

      1. No, true, (Roger may care a bit about increasing at least the friendliness) but I cannot let be comparing last year’s Rafa’s true enthusiasm and humor

  3. When he retires (in 10 years), Fed will keep in his (Rimowa) suitcase,  lots of good memories : the Laver Cup ones may – for sure – be among his fondest.  Some well chosen venues,  a smart format keeping the suspense until the last day,  fantastic interactions with the audience and among the players, a total commitment of the competitors, their availability for all media, etc. It was so entertaining. I loved every minute of it. The Geneva contest should be special (with Fed and Stan playing the doubles, 11 years after their olympic medal ?).

    I advise you to watch the press conference of Team Europe after the win in the video on this link. Happiness at all levels. 🙂

    https://lavercup.com/news/2018/09/23/inside-team-blue-rivals-get-closer

    Here are a few tweets reflecting what many of us felt or thought, I guess…

    “Dimitrov telling Federer to be calm at 8-6 in the tiebreak after screaming in Fed’s face and nervously hugging his teammates during points has to be one of the great moments of 2018”.

     “God damned Roger, heart attack in fucking awesome exhibition tournament. Can’t be more exciting than that”.

    “The #LaverCup’s greatest service and/or legacy, just 2 years in, might be this : It separates people who enjoy having fun from people who spend their time wearing tinfoil hats and being grumpy, tunnel-vision conspiracists who can’t expand their minds”.

    1. Haha that last one is funny, the small contingent of Djoker fans in that clique on twitter, most of them seem to man-hating swamp donkeys were all aboard the conspiracy train.

  4. The cup is nearly as big as Laver!Loved this event,saw the Fed/Isner match,the way he saved those match points,just
    incredible.It shows why Fed has 20 slams and Isner none however great his serve is.It was so nice to see Fed enjoying his
    tennis again after months of seeming grumpy and irritable.
    Apart from just standing there what exactly does Borg do? ?Sascha really hung in there and it will be interesting to see what
    impact Lendl will make as his coach.
    Really enjoyed this event although didn’t see much of it,but read a lot about it.Next year in Geneva,had a quick look at hotel
    prices on line.Gulp.We shall have to see but would love to go,I think this will go from strength to strength.

    1. Borg needs do nothing. He’s the ice man. His mere presence changes the laws of physics, hahaha.
      On a side note, it’s very strange – in a good way – seeing a team coached by my childhood idol, whose most proeminent player is my middle-age reference (who was coached by my youth idol 3 years ago) playing and defeating a team coached by the player I hated the most when I was a child. Boy, how I hated that rude weasel McEnroe.
      Such are the ways the wheels of time spin…

    2. Borg did some coaching, but quietly. For example, he told Sascha to stand farther back when receiving serve. Fed seconded that, but went on to say that then Sascha needed to move closer to the baseline. Good advice, and it looks like Sascha took it.

    3. Geneva is of course only just over the border from France. You might get some cheaper hotels over there. Oh wait. We shall be out of the EU by then – will that make a difference to British readers, e.g. to being able to border-hop?

    4. There are no border checks half the time. I drove across about 10 European countries this summer and saw absolutely nothing.

      It’s close but far enough to be an annoyance tbh as train or bus to get to the arena, quickly wipes out the saving on a hotel.

  5. I am an American and proud of it (well maybe not that proud with orange man in the white house). But I did feel for Isner when the cheers were louder for Roger and especially when he saved match point. But like most Americans who love tennis you have to respect the GOAT. Just like Tiger Woods great champions are always able to win at any age. That is Roger the best both on and off the court. I know deep down even the great Rod Laver was not disappointed with the outcome.

    1. Why do Americans feel the need to apologise for “the orange man in the white house”

      Plenty of non Americans are watching him do what seems to be a stellar job so far 😀

  6. You wouldn’t often see Roger pumped up and doing Rafa cerebration like he did when he won the 2nd set breaker, would you? You can tell how much the match meant to him. I loved Björn quietly sat meditating while the others (even Kyle 😉 ) went crazy behind the bench. Can’t believe I was so stressed out watching LC as much as usual matches, hahaha. And yes, impressed by Sascha, too. He was like he won a slam 😆
    Thanks Jonathan for the extra job. The ‘Toughest on the LC II’ is spot on and couldn’t agree more.

  7. I loved LC last year and I loved it this year, too. The USP of the event is the players bonding…they seem to love it and we, as audience, love it, too. This is one event where watching the sidelines and the team benches is actually as much fun as watching the matches. And the emphasis on doubles play heightens the sense of team-bonding.
    I guess I’ll be in a minority here, but although I loved Rafa’s enthusiasm last year, I liked Novak’s quieter presence this year, too.
    And the third day was lovely! As a budding Sascha fan, I’m glad he could win the final 3 points needed for his team! So exciting is the format, though, that I was actually looking forward to a Novak-Nick match where Novak could’ve clinched the cup (he kind of seemed sad not to have contributed to the team score).
    It’s a refreshing concept, an exciting format and I am so looking forward to next year.
    Thanks Jonathan for your coverage!

      1. That is so true. I have never seen such a great sight as this dedicated to an athlete. Much respect goes to Jonathan because I know this is work.

      1. Jonathan, wouldn’t it be absolutely amazing if Roger, Rafa and Novak all come together for Team Europe next year! And maybe Delpo could (finally) join the other side to add more kick to Sock!

  8. The Laver Cup 2018 was absolutely fantastic! Every match was at the highest level, every player gave his most and looking the fun the players had off court, well it was s huge success. Borg and McEnroe gave both such an invaluable input to the whole event and, of course, Roger’s leadership is just unique!
    Best Cup anytime!

  9. Actually,just thinking,it was really very,very clever to have Borg and J Mac as the coaches or team leaders or whoever they are.The ice man v the excitable one,in spades.Now as then Borg seems to be on the winning side.?

  10. Great write up. So glad LCwas just as successful in 2018. Hugely entertaining.
    Clutch Fed on that match point at 5-6 in the 2nd set breaker. As you say, nice for him to turn the tables. Maybe the red paint job helped him better!
    Hopefully the Asian swing goes well.

    Hope to make Geneva and yes, Muzz or Stan wld be great.

    I love Borg, he is so Zen. Yes the presser is great, especially his words at the end.
    The Brit press clearly hate the LC but how much is borne from Fed jealousy I am not sure ??

    Long may it continue

  11. The Laver Cup is actually more fun than most regular tour events. The level of tennis is high – the players all really want to do one for the team – and the combination of doubles with singles provides great variety. The vociferous and energetic support of the cheerleaders/benches is a big part of the show – many of their reactions are priceless – Chardy! – and the players on court undoubtedly feed off it. Tennis no longer looks like the self-centred and often dour experience than it typically seems to be. Team Europe has got to get Fognini on their team. Even if only on the bench. Now that would be entertainment! It’s also great to have “the old guard” of Borg and McEnroe there – the “dads” on the team – linking the game with its tradition. It’s difficult, however, to see the format retaining its appeal when Fed goes – he is currently the lynchpin involved. Son of Laver. Unless he comes back as one of the team captains or coaches. Or we call it the Federer Cup.

    1. I even found mysel kind of liking Djoko and forgiving him branding Rog on the rear in their doubs. Swords temporarily turned to ploughshares. But still a little bit of ouch. Yeah – it was deliberate.

      1. A further thought. Contrast the great sportsmanship of the very appropriately named Laver Cup – Rod was a true sportsman in every sense – with the vileness that was the last USO women’s final. The Cup, for me, took some of the vinegar out of my mouth following that appalling display at Flushing Meadows. The Cup showed that tennis is properly “still only a game” – however seriously it is played – and is not the personal fiefdom of gross narcissists or a platform for social justice warriors. At the risk of provoking Jonathan, I might also suggest that the real tennis fans were in Chicago while New York drew in the main a bunch of Trump supporters disguised as Williams fans. Maybe Roger had something to do with that, too. He brings out the best in people.

      2. Amrstrong7: Again, at the risk of provoking Jonathan, I would venture a guess that not many Trump supporters are Williams supporters and vice versa. I have been warming up to Djokovic slowly but steadily. His play might be boring compared to that of Roger, but he has surely taken baseline tennis to another level. Incredible returning, and almost impossible consistency from the back of the court when on song. His metronomic precision is probably the best ever seen in tennis.

      3. Tarat, but Djoko’s metronomic consistency didn’t work against Anderson, who trumped him (pardon the expression) at the same game – he simply couldn’t miss – and with extra power. I don’t trust Anderson. Risen without trace.

      4. Armstrong7 I don’t think Djokovic gave it 100% tbh. He must have been tired from the USO, but the LC was a good PR opportunity for him. I don’t think he loses to Anderson in a GS SF or F in a similar situation. If the guy knows anything, it is how to deal with pressure.

  12. I’d say Chardy had the best time of all. Always smiling and cheering! Djoker never seemed to get his teeth into it. Seemed out of place somehow. I see in that article FBf that the person is suggesting to invite the WTA to the event. Not crazy about that idea. It would be too crowded.
    The celebration and locker room looked like a Stanley Cup final. Wouldn’t want to be the cleaner!

      1. I would be more fun celebrating! But then, we would drink too much champagne and be passed out on the locker room floor.

  13. Fantastic event! I still watching highlights, would have liked it all.. So much passion and excellency and without profits of points to anybody’s ranking, without money on prize (I think), and giving lots of coaching (Roger) to a not rare past and future opponent/rival (Sasha) making him win for the team. This is sport how I like it! Emotion and team spirit like a cleansing stormy wind!
    When that’s said, The World team were very tight to be the excellent winner also. That’s how it should be – a rare experience of fantastic brilliance of play on both sides.

  14. Truly loved everything about the Laver Cup, but I felt Fed missed a chance to shine even more
    why when McEnroe was having his rant did he not shout out ‘you cannot be serious man’ !
    Great write up Jonathan and have loved all the posts….a very happy blog x

  15. 2nd year of LC and momentum still very good. Team Europe now have their own group celebrations. Its unique event by itself and I absolutely love it. The drama, the laughs, the crowd, the design…all done with a lot of thought to make it a great tennis event. I can’t wait for LC2019. I wonder who they pick for Team Europe – Murray or Stan.

  16. I loved the LC last year so much that I decided to go to the next one in person. Luckily it turned out to be in the same country that I live and had a great time watching Roger play amazing tennis against NK. Had a very stressful time watching him pull off an incredible win against a huge server in spite of throwing away a lot of points on his serve in a format that favors people like Isner. I just couldn’t believe the support he got from the pro american crowd against John. No one in the crowd wanted to see Roger lose even against an american in Chicago!!. I doubt that we will ever have another player in future with such dedicated crowds across the globe. I think Europe needs to bring in a doubles specialist in future LCs instead of trying to make do with two of their numerous top singles players. I guess it does give the audience more of Roger time and does keep the competition from being a complete one sided rout. Djokovic did seem out of place and did not really enjoy the adoration that his rival was receiving :).

    1. But Kudos to Djokovic for turning up at all.I don’t like him much and dislike his game style but he did
      attend,although I agree he seemed somewhat out of things.
      So upwards and onwards.Where do they all go next,or more importantly where does Roger go Next?

      1. According to interviews I read he intends to play
        * Shanghai (travelling there with the family and staying in Tokyo before for some Uniqlo PR)
        * Basel
        * WTF London
        Currently he appears in the preliminary list of players at Paris-Bercy. I guess this will change in cases of a deep run in Basel as it usually has been the case in the last years…

    2. But it is so FUN to watch 2 top rivals team together! I so much enjoyed the R/R doubles last year – and also momentarily the N/R thing. And it gave the Team W a much needed chance, and us a likewise needed thrill? And I enjoyed the absolute endeavor for making Novak feel welcome – but I agree, he didn’t seem to feel totally at home anyway. – I think Roger likes to double with his strongest rivals?

  17. Hello all !
    Today is a special day. 20 years ago, on September 30, 1998, Roger Federer won his 1st match on the ATP tour in Toulouse against Guillaume Raoux – the French player (ranked 45th).  Fed was 17 years old and was ranked 878th. 20 years later, he has given us 20 Grand Slams. Happy anniversary, champion !
    Look at this short video on French TV – Patrice Dominguez, a former player had noticed this young man full of promises : “Ro-gé” 🙂
    https://youtu.be/4enG0JaGDnY

  18. Nice. Too bad my French is nonexistent. Wow, Tomic won a tournament.. And poor Andy out again for the year. Don’t have a good feeling about him. I do miss him on tour, one of the only guys I don’t mind Fed losing to for some reason.

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