Europe Wins the Laver Cup in a Successful Debut for the Event

The inaugural Laver Cup succeeded in its most important task – creating a competitive environment.  The tennis was not a hit and giggle spectacle.  Players were invested in the matches and supported one another from the bench.  There were certain nice touches:

  • The black courts were unique
  • Federer and Nadal playing doubles together was bound to draw some viewers and interest
  • Players imploring the crowd and their teammates on court added some intensity

Mainly, the match was not an All-Star game.  The kids days at 3 of the majors often include some funny stuff and skills challenges.  That niche did not need to be filled.  This event generated a weekend of intense tennis that placed importance on singles and doubles.  The Ryder Cup style scoring and general intensity of the competitors were a win for tennis.  Also, Team Europe didn’t run away with the event, it did set a tone on day 1 that Team World was overmatched.  The generally older European team (sorry Mr Zverev) looked a little tired by the third day.  Due to the scoring, this created some tension regarding the outcome.  Tension and players wanting to win generated a positive weekend.  Nick Kyrgios crying at the end of the final singles match may be the image that adds the most importance to future Laver Cups.

Not a Competition with Davis Cup

Davis Cup is a different format from Laver Cup.  Davis Cup has a lot of history behind it. Novak Djokovic used a Serbian Davis Cup win in 2010 to propel him to a great 2011 season.  Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer, and Juan Martin del Potro have all reveled in recent Davis Cup successes.  Belgium and France will each be trying to win Davis Cup this fall.  I have seen proposals and even made a few of my own on how to streamline the Davis Cup schedule, but none of them involved a single weekend.  So the narrative of Laver Cup vs. Davis Cup seems like a dead-end.

Team Play on the Rise

Tennis is largely an individual sport.  That is not likely to change, but tennis has added some team events to already established team play.  Davis Cup and Federation Cup are longstanding traditions.  Hopman Cup is a nice early season event.  World Team Cup was once a big deal.  World Team Tennis has had its moments as well.  International Premier League Tennis has taken many of the ideas behind World Team Tennis and scaled them up.  Players have a lot of fun in IPLT matches plus the money and schedule attract top talent.  Laver Cup play was more serious than that of the IPLT, but their rise coming within a few years of one another may be pushing the way toward a tennis year centered on the majors and other big events with patches of team play in-between.   I hope this does not crowd out the role smaller events play on both the WTA and ATP tours.

Scheduling

Trying new things and drawing eyes to tennis are things I welcome.  I do think the two events on the ATP Tour this week will be lost in the shuffle of the media coverage.  That doesn’t mean the players in those events won’t put ranking points and prize money to good use, but I think the Laver Cup people could work with the ATP Tour to prevent men’s tennis from competing against itself.

A Cap to the Fedal Year?

2017 was a year of resurgence for Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer while the 3 players who won majors in 2016 struggled with injuries.  Federer and Nadal playing doubles together, Rafa jumping into Roger’s arms after the Laver Cup winning points were earned more or less summed up 2017.

“My Heart Will Go On” being added to the footage will either make or break one’s day

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