John McEnroe names player who could make next Laver Cup a ‘different story’

John McEnroe Laver Cup

John McEnroe has admitted next year’s Laver Cup could be a “different story” if Carlos Alcaraz competes, after Team World’s dominant 2023 victory.

The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion spoke about the importance of Team World capitalising on Team Europe being weakened by the absence of some top players.

McEnroe’s side crushed their European counterparts 13-2 in the exhibition team competition at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver to retain the Laver Cup title. Team World won the event for the first time since its introduction in 2017 in London last year, after Europe triumphed in the first four editions.

All six of Team World’s players contributed to win a point as they sealed victory after the opening match on Day 3 – with Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe downing Hubert Hurkacz and Andrey Rublev in the doubles tie.

Nine of the current top 10 players in the ATP Rankings are European, but Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud were the only ones to feature at the 2023 Laver Cup. None of the top five of Novak Djokovic, Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas played – with the latter two named in the initial squad but withdrawing due to injury.

Speaking in the post-tournament press conference, McEnroe recognised that the coming editions will likely be more challenging for Team World.

“Obviously in a competition it’s about winning. I think we did have a good team spirit for years. It wasn’t getting us a whole lot. We were close a couple times, but it’s frustrating. You know, it’s a little bit of that David versus Goliath,” said the American.

“We came here and we sort of looked at what happened, a couple guys pulled out and we’re, like, ‘Wait a minute, not only could we but we should in our minds do it and come out.’

“We’ve got to take advantage of this, and so I think these guys are getting it, because I think in a couple of years, I mean, obviously next year it’s going to be a different story.

“We’ll be back in Europe. A couple of guys, you know, Carlos Alcaraz, if he plays, it will be obviously a different story right off the bat. So we’ve got to take advantage of this opportunity and get some momentum.”

The former world No 1 also discussed the belief his side gained from winning the event for the first time in 2022 – when all of the ‘Big 4’ were present for Team Europe.

“It was huge, just the whole experience, last year obviously with Roger [Federer] retiring at Laver Cup and Rafa [Nadal] being there and Novak and Andy [Murray]  playing as well, I mean, it was an unbelievable atmosphere, and to win that, I mean, in the position we’re in,” said McEnroe.

“I think once we got over the hump, obviously if you haven’t done it and then you do do it, you have more belief that you can. This week is the first time we have ever been in the lead, so this is sort of a new feeling for us.

“The good news is these guys have stepped up, every one of them, actually. There is not a single guy out of the six that hasn’t picked up a point for us.”

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