Ever since the introduction of the Laver Cup in 2017, there have been several fingers pointed at the event stating that it is nothing more than an exhibition and that the emotions displayed by the players on court are not real.
While the significance of the tournament is still under debate, the Laver Cup has now completed three editions - with Team Europe winning all three. And each new edition has brought a new aspect to the forefront, making us wonder whether the accusations of falseness have any merit.
Tennis is a selfish sport and the players usually play just for themselves, with no regard for their peers. The Laver Cup has tried to change this aspect by grouping the players into teams, which in turn instills strong emotions into them.
Roger Federer, who is going through a rough patch on tour at the moment due to some heart-breaking losses, took the opportunity of the Laver Cup to rejuvenate himself. With the tournament taking place in Geneva this time, there seemed to be an added edge to everything that he did on the court.
Now considering all the accolades that Federer has achieved in his career, playing in a tournament like the Laver Cup shouldn't theoretically hold too much significance for him. But what we saw was the complete opposite of that, as he looked pumped up on multiple occasions and displayed his emotions more openly than he has in recent times.
The one obvious reason for that was he was playing the matches in Switzerland. The fans in Federer's home country adore him and treat him as a national icon. The atmosphere was especially electric during the match against Nick Kyrgios on Day 2 as the crowd got into the contest and provided great support to their hero.
During the on-court interview after the match, Federer was seen getting emotional as he thanked the fans for their incredible support.
The Laver Cup might also have provided a new source of motivation and energy for Federer to play at the highest level after what happened in the Wimbledon final. The Swiss took a long time to recover from that loss, as his surprising loss to Grigor Dimitrov in the US Open quarterfinal showed.
The Laver Cup presented a nice opportunity for Federer to vent out his hidden emotions. Playing those match tie-breakers under pressure might have been of great help for him to recover his mojo after the SW19 heartbreak.
Moreover, Rafael Nadal taking an active part in coaching almost every player of Team Europe, including Federer himself, would have worked wonders for the Swiss' morale. The team bonding and spirit of camaraderie among the players helped Federer rediscover the joy of playing the sport, as was evident from his gestures and expressions throughout the event.
If not for the Laver Cup Federer would have been left to fend for himself all alone, and it is possible that any further losses would have further dented his intentions to continue playing. In that context, winning the Laver Cup might just be the catalyst that Federer needed at this point of his career.Published 26 Sep 2019, 00:59 IST