The three-day Laver Cup, this year being played in the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada, got under way on Friday with Team World, the Cup holders, making a clean sweep of the four matches played against Team Europe.
John McEnroe, the Team World captain, was elated when his team won the Cup for the first time last year and has selected five Americans, a Canadian and an Argentinian to defend that success and close the gap on his rival Bjorn Borg, his counterpart with the opposition.
And he certainly got the ‘hosts’ off to a good start with Ben Shelton taking down the French teenager Arthur Fils 7-6(4) 6-1, for the first point. That straight sets win was followed up by another form Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo who defeated Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich-Fokina 6-3 7-5 for the second point whilst the third was collected by Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime who overcame the second Frenchman, veteran Gael Monfils 6-4 6-3.
In the final match of the day, the compatriots, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul were taken the distance in the doubles by Russia’s Andrey Rublev and his partner Fils playing his second rubber of the day, but the pair couldn’t prevent the Americans finish off the opening day with a flourish, winning 6-3 4-6 10-6.
It’s the first time in six years that one Team has secured all the points on the opening day to take a 4-0 lead, However matters can turn around quickly as each win on Day Two produces 2 points and those on the last day, 3 points!
For Auger Aliassime, his win not only helped his team, but hi own confidence for his results since he last played Laver Cup, have not been that inspiring as he acknowledged.
“To do it with the crowd with us and supporting us, and for me especially as a Canadian, it feels good,” the Montreal player said. “It feels good to get a first win under my belt here in the competition. It’s nice to get some wins. I haven’t seen those in a while!
“It’s so special to play here in Vancouver,” Auger-Aliassime added. “I used to come here when I was 12, not too far from here for the national championships. If you told me back then that I would be playing the Laver Cup almost 10 years later here in front of you, I almost wouldn’t believe that. So it’s extra special for me to playing in front of you tonight.”