The third edition of the Laver Cup takes place in Geneva this coming weekend and we are all in for a ball.
Now part of the ATP Calendar, this popular team competition is back in Europe with some of the world’s best players taking to the court for the first time since the US Open.
These superstars, led by Switzerland’s own Roger Federer, will headline a free public appearance in Geneva on Wednesday, when they are officially welcomed to the city at Palais Eynard.
The Laver Cup is a 3-day tournament pitting together 6 top players from Europe against 6 from the Rest of the World.
Up until 2020, Team Europe will be captained by Bjorn Borg, while John McEnroe steers Team World.
The team competition was named in honour of Rod Laver, the legendary Australian who is still regarded by many as the greatest of all time for having won the Grand Slam, all four Slam titles in a calendar year, twice, both as an amateur and a professional.
The players will be playing both singles and pairing up in doubles.
Laver will join the teams and their respective captains on Wednesday as they make their first public appearance before what promises to be a spectacular weekend of Laver Cup tennis.
Proceedings start at 12.00 noon, with the arrival of the Laver Cup trophy and participants, who will be welcomed to Geneva by city officials on the balcony of the Palais Eynard in the Parc des Bastions.
Team Europe: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Fabio Fognini, with Alternate Roberto Bautista Agut.
Team World: John Isner, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov, Jack Sock and Taylor Fritz, plus Alternate Jordan Thompson.
The Laver Cup is a joint initiative between Team8, Tennis Australia, the USTA and Brazilian businessman Jorge Paulo Leman.
It started out as an initiative by Federer’s sports management company Team8 with Lehman and Tennis Australia, and was first played in Prague, Czech Republic.
It was followed by Chicago last year, actively embraced by the USTA and, now in its third year, has been officially sanctioned by the ATP as an event on the ATP Tour calendar despite it being a glorified exhibition with no points on offer.
According to reports, the agreement gives the Laver Cup access to ATP services, including marketing and social media, along with operational personnel such as officials and physios.
The first two editions have been highly successful sell-outs, but not everyone is happy with the presence of the Laver Cup.
In an exclusive interview to Tennis World USA, the ATP St Petersburg Open organiser Natalia Kamelzon said the clash with her tournament, and the one at Metz held in the same week, creates problems.
“Quite clearly, as organisers we keep an eye on what is going in the world of tennis in general and in the ATP events in particular – and on the opinions of our colleagues about that,” she said. “[The Laver Cup] should not be part of the calendar.”
This is a view shared by Jean-François Caujolle, the Marseille Open Tournament Director, who believes it should remain ‘a show and play no part of the ATP-Tour’, nor should it be held on the same week as other ATP events.
The Laver Cup is the brainchild of Federer, who asked Tony Godsick, his agent and business partner at Team8, to make it happen.
The rest, as they say, is history, because Federer’s influence on men’s tennis is virtually absolute.
No doubt, with the Swiss headlining the competition in his home country, it will be another sell-out success and, with a worldwide audience tuning in, is guaranteed to be a spectacular show as well as a commercial success.
Federer’s sponsors have happily supported the Laver Cup – Rolex, Credit Suisse and Mercedes alongside suppliers Barilla, Netjets, Moët & Chandon, Wilson, Le Coq Sportif and Steve Furgal’s International Tennis Tours, Inc.
There are a host of local and media sponsors too, as well as support for the International Tennis Hall of Fame and a range of Laver Cup merchandise.
TV rights have been sold to broadcasters across the world, spearheaded by Amazon Prime Video, which will provide live streaming to all regions and is fast becoming a go-to for tennis fans.
It is a slick commercial enterprise that many tour events, who struggle to make ends meets, must surely envy.
Played over 3 days, there is a day and night session on Friday and Saturday, followed by a final single day session on Sunday.
Each day 4 matches are played – 3 singles and a doubles.
Both singles and doubles are best of 3 sets with ad scoring. In the event of split sets, the 3rd set is a 10-point match tiebreak.
Each player competes in at least 1 singles match during the first 2 days, but no player can play singles more than twice during the 3 days and at least 4 of the 6 players must play doubles, while no doubles combination is played more than once, unless for the Decider on Day 3, if points are 12:12.
It makes for an enthralling format via which the winning team must reach 13 points.
In the event of a tie after all 12 matches are played, a final ‘overtime’ doubles match – a Decider – is played as a regular set with ad scoring and a tiebreak.
Friday’s line-up will be announced on Thursday afternoon, while Saturday’s line-up is revealed an hour after play ends on Friday night and Sunday’s line-up an hour after play ends on Saturday night.
Match-ups are determined through the exchange of line-up cards by the captains.
Interestingly, each match win is worth 1 point on Friday, 2 points on Saturday, and 3 points on Sunday and the first team to reach 13 points out of a total 24 points available wins the Laver Cup.
Prime Video will be showing the Laver Cup live exclusively in the UK, and you can sign up for a 30-day free trial via Amazon.
Outside the UK the Laver Cup is available to watch on pay and free-to-air channels globally and a current list of broadcasters is available on lavercup.com.
In Switzerland, the event is broadcasted on TV24 (with German commentary) and Léman Bleu (with French commentary).
In addition, the website, LaverCup.com, is the go-to place for news, coverage, scores and event information from the pulse of the tournament.
Follow the Laver Cup at facebook.com/LaverCup and watch out for exclusive Team Europe and Team World behind-the-scenes coverage on Instagram and Twitter @LaverCup.