It occupies a plum spot within the ATP Calendar regardless of technically being an exhibition. So what’s the Laver Cup? How did it develop into so particular and what does the longer term maintain?
When tennis legends Bjorn Borg, Rafael Nadal, Rod Laver, John McEnroe and Roger Federer gathered collectively in New York in August 2016 to announce the launch of a singular crew tennis event primarily owned by Roger Federer’s administration firm, TEAM8, there was wild pleasure.
For those who didn’t know, Federer owns a stake in TEAM8, which is run by his long-time agent, Tony Godsick.
Once you then take into account that different traders included Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann – a former Davis Cup participant and Brazil’s richest man – you’ll be able to see that the event had a privileged begin in life.
And it continues to flourish with the assistance of Federer with the foremost sponsors of the occasions the Swiss star’s private sponsors. Assume Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Credit score Suisse, Moet, On and Uniqlo.
Federer apparently took inspiration to create this event from golf’s Ryder Cup. Workforce Europe in opposition to Workforce World would see the most effective gamers from each ‘areas’ battle it out for the distinguished Laver Cup trophy.
And with every crew’s captain being a former tennis legend – Bjorn Borg for Workforce Europe and John McEnroe for Workforce World – the occasion ensured it might get a number of media consideration.
If that wasn’t field workplace sufficient, the cherry on the cake was the title – the Laver Cup is called after Australian tennis legend Rod Laver.
“Rod Laver represents the whole lot that’s nice in regards to the sport of tennis, and it’s a privilege to have the ability to honour his achievements via the Laver Cup,” Roger Federer stated on the launch.
So what precisely is The Laver Cup?
For the uninitiated, it’s a three-day event pitting a crew of the six greatest tennis gamers from Europe in opposition to six of their counterparts from the remainder of the world.
The placement rotates between main cities in Europe and the remainder of the world annually.
Prague, Chicago, Boston and Geneva have hosted the primary 4 tournaments and now, we head into the fifth version which is being hosted by the O2 Enviornment in London.
The bizarre format permits the superstars of tennis to compete on the identical crew, pair up in doubles and cheer one another on from the sidelines. This yr, we’ve got the ‘Huge 4’ – Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray – all enjoying for Workforce Europe.
Swedish famous person Bjorn Borg has captained Workforce Europe for all 4 editions of the Laver Cup (2017, 2018, 2019, 2021). He has been victorious each single time.
John McEnroe can be hoping that he can come out on prime for the primary time this yr. To lose for the fifth time in a row, particularly to his historic rival, wouldn’t be nice for him, his crew or the occasion on the whole.
The groups are chosen via a mixture of their ATP Rating and ‘captain’s picks’ – principally free alternative by each captains.
Regardless of the star energy and large backing of the Laver Cup, there have been some criticisms levelled in opposition to it.
It was stated that the Laver Cup aimed to spice up the recognition of tennis – a sport which is claimed to be dropping momentum amongst the youthful generations – across the globe.
Thus far, the Laver Cup hasn’t made any effort to journey to nations that aren’t on the ATP’s hit record already. For instance, we have already got a Slam and loads of M1000s and different ATP occasions being held all yr spherical within the USA.
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Thus far, two of the 5 editions of the Laver Cup have been held within the USA. Undecided this equates to rising tennis globally.
Secondly, the ticket costs are stated to be eye-wateringly costly.
At first look, they appear reasonably priced at £18 to £385 for a single session, however the truth that they’re obtainable as resales means they’re rumoured to be available on the market for quantities as much as £45,000.
How does that enhance the attain of the sports activities amongst the youthful generations? Most would argue that it does the alternative and gives the look that tennis is out of contact and out of attain.
This yr, the costs rocketed additional after Roger Federer introduced his retirement and on the identical time acknowledged that the Laver Cup can be his final ATP occasion.
It was anticipated that tennis followers on the whole, and Federer followers particularly, would need to be current on the Swiss legend’s final official occasion.
Whether or not that justifies paying tens of 1000’s for a ticket – particularly when Federer later introduced that he wouldn’t even be collaborating in a singles match and solely enjoying within the doubles – is up for debate.
Is it even proper for an ‘exhibition’ occasion which doesn’t award rankings factors to be featured on the ATP Calendar?
And is it proper that the result of those exhibition matches now depend in the direction of the official H2H information of gamers? It wasn’t the case when the Laver Cup was launched however two years in, the choice was made that the H2Hs can be formally scored and the outcomes of the primary two editions of the Laver Cup have been ‘retroactively’ added to ATP information.
Carrying on, is it proper that an lively participant (on this case Roger Federer) is ready to have an occasion that he part-owns formally a part of the ATP calendar?
For now, the truth that the Huge 4 are enjoying collectively on the identical crew in Federer’s swansong means the media and followers are going gaga for all of the social media content material across the occasion.
However going ahead, as soon as the massive weapons have retired, will The Laver Cup nonetheless maintain the identical status it does?
Until Federer and Nadal develop into captains of Workforce Europe, will individuals pay megabucks to see the NextGen battle it out in an exhibition?
There isn’t a doubt that having gamers like Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray on the identical aspect – chest bumping, hugging and screaming out for one another – is a thrill for tennis followers to see.
The truth that the tickets are in some casing costing far more than tickets to the finals of a Slam is mind-boggling.
It stays to be seen if the occasion can survive past the Huge 4, Huge Three, Huge Two or Roger Federer himself.
Vancouver and Berlin have been confirmed because the hosts for 2023 and 2024 respectively.
Whether or not the Laver Cup, with its iconic black courts and gilt-coloured branding, reaches out to non-tennis nations, whether or not Workforce World ever handle to get their arms on the trophy, or whether or not ticket costs come all the way down to reasonably priced ranges stays to be seen.
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