Laver Cup, brain child of Roger Federer, moves to US soil this year after proving to be a success last year in Prague. Beginning the promotional activities, Federer was joined by John McEnroe, Rod Laver and fellow tennis player Nick Kyrgios in Chicago on Monday. The team competition played in a Ryder Cup format, pitting Team Europe vs Team Rest of the World, is scheduled for September 21-23 in Chicago before returning to Europe next year. After its third year, Federer said he’ll entertain possible changes to the format.
“Down the road I’m totally open to anything,” Federer said. “I’ve heard already from women players. They would love to do it as well.” The Swiss player came in from Indian Wells, California, where he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the final in three sets which also saw an end to his 17-match unbeaten streak in the year.
Four of the six players on each team are chosen on rankings after Wimbledon. The other two are captain’s picks, and captain McEnroe made his intention of a pick quite clear when he announced Australian Kyrgios was already on the World Team. Kyrgios lost a tight final singles match to Federer last season, which clinched the cup for Team Europe.
Despite the short window of three days dedicated to Laver Cup, question marks persist over what impact it has on ITF’s Team event in Davis Cup. Furthermore, a proposal has been floated by ITF to play the top level of Davis Cup in a single-week, 18-nation format. Additionally, ATP are also working on their own version of team event which is speculated to be played around the Australian Open.
“It just takes so much out of the players to be available four weekends during the year every single year,” Federer said. “I played a lot of Davis Cup when I was younger and happy I did. I was happy it existed, but eventually it was just too much.”
Federer added: “I do believe that the Laver Cup has sparked some change, some inspiration to other cups that maybe we’ll see in tennis. But that’s a good thing. We’ll take that as a sign of flattery.”
McEnroe, once a permanent member in the US Davis Cup team, said changes in the Davis Cup are overdue and certainly the success of the Laver Cup has not gone unnoticed. “For me, I say, ‘When’s the last time anyone’s asked me about how many Davis Cup teams I was part of winning?’” McEnroe said. “In the last 10 years, how many people have asked me that? You know how many people? None. Which is sad, ’cause I played a lot of Davis Cup and I loved it.”