Exhibition or not, the Laver Cup has the right mix between being fun and serious
Isaac Seelochan was initially sceptical about the Laver Cup, but he has changed his tune after another fun-filled event in Chicago.
Whatever you think of the Laver Cup, no one can argue that it hasn’t been entertaining.
I for one was sceptical of the Laver Cup when it was first introduced. It looked to be just another PR exercise for Roger Federer and that could still very well be the case, with the Swiss often being given centre stage during the three days of action in Chicago and last year in Prague. That’s not to mention that next year’s event will be held in his home country of Switzerland.
From an entertainment perspective though, the Laver Cup has been a resounding success.
The format helps, with two regular sets being played and the deciding set being a 10-point tie-breaker, allowing the matches to be shorter, meaning that there is always a chance of a comeback in any of the matches. It shouldn’t come as a surprisethat players won from match point down in four of the eleven matches played.
The fact that more points were on offer each day, certainly kept it competitive to the end and no one could argue that all the players weren’t taking their matches seriously.
John Isner looked devastated after his singles defeats to Alexander Zverev and Federer, whilst the relief in the celebrations from Team Europe were a clear sign that they all wanted to win this.
For some people though, no matter how seriously the players take it there will always be the issue of it feeling like an exhibition.
Of course it will never have the importance of a Grand Slam, but that doesn’t make it any less important for those competing. After all, many of the players won’t get the chance to win a Grand Slam, so why not take it seriously when there is a trophy on offer?
One of the highlights for me, was seeing a different side to Nick Kyrigos. An often-frustrating figure on the regular ATP Tour, however when competing as part of a team and with friends, Kyrigos often took it upon himself to motivate his team-mates whilst also providing insightful tactical advice. If Federer saw himself as the chief motivator for Team Europe, Kyrigos was certainly the alternative version over on Team World.
Another highlight was seeing the camaraderie between the players on both teams. Diego Schwartzman was always entertaining, with his speech introducing his ‘brother’ John Isner at the Gala event being particularly funny and the imaginative celebrations from both teams ensuring that there was entertainment on and off the court.
The interesting tactical discussions between Novak Djokovic and Federer gave us a glimpse into how they think,with both showing a genuine warmth towards each other, even after Djokovic accidentally catapulted a ball into Federer’s back during their doubles match together.
Overall, it remains to be seen how long the Laver Cup will last, and whether an increasingly congested tennis calendar will see its interest among the players diminish. But for now, the Laver Cup remains a fun couple of days of tennis.
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