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Laver Cup victory for Federer and Nadal’s Team Europe will further strengthen Team World’s identity crisis

Laver Cup victory for Federer and Nadal’s Team Europe will further strengthen Team World’s identity crisis
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Team Europe including Roger Fderer and Rafael Nadal pose together ahead of the Laver Cup
Team Europe are as soon as once more the favourites to defend their title (Picture: Getty)

In its third yr, the Laver Cup nonetheless faces one thing of an identity crisis.

There’s no query the primary two editions have been totally entertaining. Who wouldn’t wish to see Roger Federer staff up with each his nice rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in doubles?

The black courts are slick, having the groups on court docket provides to the ambiance and it’s been genuinely attention-grabbing to see interactions between teammates who’re usually adversaries. The tennis has been fairly good, too.

But can we really care who wins? Have folks actually purchased into supporting Team Europe or Team World?

It’s a contest typically in comparison with golf’s Ryder Cup however followers are far much less invested in tennis’ equal.

Is it a giant subject? Perhaps not but. And it could be unfair to instantly examine it with a contest that’s been working for greater than eight many years. As lengthy as a mix of the ‘Big Three’ proceed to rock up, there will be sufficient curiosity to maintain it. But as everyone knows, time isn’t precisely on this golden technology’s facet.

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For the Laver Cup to significantly thrive past Federer, Nadal and Djokovic, folks must grow to be actively invested in who wins.

It’s an issue that’s maybe extra pertinent for Team World. It stays tough to grow to be really partisan a few six-continent membership (even when they’re solely represented by two of them this yr).

While the Ryder Cup could also be considered as exclusionary, it does severely faucet into the American market and its vociferous help for golf. It could be massively shocking if that’s even barely mimicked in tennis’ equal in Geneva this weekend.

Team captain John McEnroe’s Team World additionally lacks a really loveable world famous person.

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John McEnroe's Team World, including Nick Kyrgios, pose with Rod Laver ahead of the Laver Cup
Is Team World missing in star high quality? (Picture: Getty)

Nick Kyrgios, one may argue, comes closest – though he does cut up opinion – and blond, left-hander with a one-handed backhand Denis Shapovalov has the potential to be a star of tomorrow, however John Isner, Milos Raonic, Jack Sock, Taylor Fritz and Jordan Thompson all scream “meh”. How they have to dream of boasting a McEnroe or Rod Laver of their ranks.

It would assist if Team World might really win. That, nonetheless, appears unlikely given Europe’s far higher assets.

Isner is World’s solely high 20 participant – and he barely sneaks in at No. 20 – whereas each member of Bjorn Borg’s outfit sits inside the highest 11, together with three of the highest 5.

Team World & Team Europe

TEAM EUROPE

Rafael Nadal (2)
Roger Federer (3)
Dominic Thiem (5)
Alexander Zverev (6)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (7)
Fabio Fognini (11)
Alternate: Roberto Bautista Agut (10)

TEAM WORLD

John Isner (20)
Milos Raonic (24)
Nick Kyrgios (27)
Denis Shapovalov (33)
Jack Sock (210)
Taylor Fritz (30)
Alternate: Jordan Thompson (53)

Laver Cup Day 1 schedule (Friday 20 September)

Day session

Thiem (Europe) vs Shapovalov (World)
Fognini (Europe) vs Sock (World)

Night session

Tsitsipas (Europe) vs Fritz (World)
Federer/Zverev (Europe) vs Shapovalov/Sock (World)

The weighted scoring – Sunday’s matches depend for three factors in comparison with Friday’s one, with Saturday providing two – ensures the tie will stay aggressive heading into the ultimate day and in Sock they’ve a genuinely world class doubles participant who can rack up factors.

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But they want a singles participant to significantly step as much as threaten the likes of Nadal and Federer.

The most evident candidate is Kyrgios. A person who loves the staff setting – taking part in for others is much less taxing mentally than taking part in for himself – and who might discover himself out of the sport within the not too distant future, with the spectre of a ban from the ATP Tour looming over him after a summer time of misdemeanours.

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Nick Kyrgios looks on ahead of the Laver Cup
Will Kyrgios come up trumps for Team World? (Picture: Getty Images for Laver Cup)

That potential ban by no means threatened his participation in Geneva – the Laver Cup’s quasi existence as a semi-official ATP occasion means the governing physique’s rulings don’t essentially apply, not {that a} choice has been made anyway – however it might simply gee him up that further notch within the data he might not play once more in 2019.

Team World may be buoyed by the actual fact a number of of Europe’s stars arrive on the Palexpo out of types.

Alexander Zverev is a shadow of the participant who gained the ATP Finals in 2018, whereas Stefanos Tsitsipas appeared mentally fatigued after a first-round US Open defeat. Dominic Thiem can also be in need of match play in latest weeks as a consequence of a virus.

So there are glimmers of hope that might see this be a carefully fought contest permitting Team World to lastly uncover an identity and spring to life. But with Federer and Nadal on board, Europe will absolutely clinch a 3rd straight title.

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