In Boston, the fourth Laver Cup, a prestigious commercial tournament, where the best tennis players in Europe are opposed by the best players in the world, ended with a rather unexpected result. It was initiated by Tennis Australia and one of the best tennis players in the history of this sport, Roger Federer. The organizers were inspired by the famous golf tournament – the Ryder Cup – and created the same format in tennis. This year the representatives of the “Big Trio” (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer) could not take part in the Laver Cup, but even without them the team was no less stellar. True, the balance of power initially seemed unequal: if only representatives of the top 10 played for the European team, including the Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrei Rublev, then the strongest in the world team were Felix Auger-Alyassim and Denis Shapovalov – 11th and 13th rackets of the world respectively. Although even in such a scenario, hardly anyone expected to see such a serious superiority of the Europeans.
This time the tournament was held for the first time without its founder – Federer ended the season ahead of schedule due to a knee injury. Nevertheless, the Swiss came to Boston and actively helped with the advice of the European team. The format of the tournament assumes that 12 matches will take place in three days – nine singles and three doubles. Having won on the first day of the competition, the team gets one point, on the second – two, on the third – three. The winning team must score 13 points. Rating points are not added to the tennis players’ piggy bank based on the results of the performance (because of this, the tournament has many opponents), however, this “omission” is compensated by the prize fund. Each member of the winning team received $ 250,000 – not the worst earnings in three days in a pleasant atmosphere.
The victory of European tennis players was expected, but still wanted to get a little more resistance. The world squad lost in just nine matches.
Denis Shapovalov and Joe Isner (team of the world) defeated Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini (team of Europe). At the net, the German told the opponents that this would be the last point they could earn – in the end it happened (1:14). This remark by Zverev caused a negative reaction from the captain of the world team, the great John McEnroe, who literally smashed the Olympic champion Tokyo on his Twitter.
To the surprise of many fans of Nick Kyrios (World Team), he failed to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas (European Team). The statistics of the Australian against the current top 4 are surprising – 2: 0 against Djokovic, 2: 0 against Medvedev, 2: 1 (considering the Laver Cup match) against Tsitsipas and 4: 3 against Zverev. Apparently, this time the talk about the desire to end his career soon has some basis.
The most striking was Isner’s meeting with Zverev. There was team tactics (all the guys crowded around Sasha during the breaks between games and advised him something), intrigue, and even Federer’s tips. This match was the only one of ten in the 2021 Laver Cup, the result of each game of which was determined by tie-breaks.
Medvedev in action
For the first time in four years of the Laver Cup, one of the tennis players put on the wheel. And none other than the recent US Open winner Daniil Medvedev did it in the match against Denis Shapovalov (6: 4, 6: 0). Rublev also successfully spent the last three days: he won singly against Shvartsman and twice a pair, thereby becoming the best greenhouse of the tournament. The guys quickly got used to the team environment and leave Boston with great memories. Rublev even said at a press conference that winning the Laver Cup trophy along with the Olympics was one of the most emotional moments this year.
In general, the atmosphere in the team was super friendly: after the victory, absolutely everyone got wet in the champagne fountain. As a frequenter of the competition, Sasha Zverev was the leader for the most part. No conflicts between Tsitsipas and Medvedev or Tsitsipas and Zverev, as many expected, were not noticed. We hope to see them perform as a pair next year. Note that Rublev was also recognized as the funniest member of the team. Stefanos did not even expect that Andrei could be like that.
“This is an indicative tournament,” Yevgeny Kafelnikov, ex-first racket of the world, emphasized in an interview with Izvestia. – I do not think that tennis players give their best. The tournament is not a rating tournament, but for the audience. Making a resume is pointless. Time has passed since the US Open, now everything will depend on how Daniel and Andrey are determined to spend the rest of the season indoors. This is their favorite time, so let’s hope that they will not only be able to defend many of their points, but also win prestigious titles.
When the awarding ceremony took place and everyone took pictures with each other and the Laver Cup, it was decided to play an exhibition doubles match: Medvedev – Ruud against Auger-Alyassim and Schwartzman. The meeting ended with the victory of the latter, but Danya warned at the start of the competition that he was not eager to play a pair – he was not very good at it. Nevertheless, the match turned out to be funny and a bit of a violation of the rules. But this is the Laver Cup – what difference does it make how to play if that doesn’t solve anything?
During this meeting, Andrei Rublev was sitting in an embrace with the captain of the European team Bjorn Borg in a T-shirt with the inscription Moscow and sipping soda, while Stefanos Tsitsipas practiced his hobby of photographing. A little later, the Greek showed the footage taken to the captain of the European team.
The excitement of the audience when aiming the camera at Federer, the rivalry between McEnroe and Borg, the interaction of Daniel with the audience – all these details bring incredible pleasure to tennis fans around the world, whoever says anything about the Laver Cup. But whether it is worth canceling other tournaments on the calendar for him, which overlap in dates, as McEnroe spoke about, is an open question.