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Laver Cup all set to beguile the tennis world!

453   //    20 Sep 2017, 14:39 IST

Laver Cup - Previews
Laver Cup - Previews

After the U.S.Open, ardent fans usually suffer from withdrawal symptoms from the all year tennis that keeps them on a blissful high. If you ask a Federer fan like me, it hits even more. 

This year though, fans are assured of a little solace with the Laver Cup that begins this Friday 22nd September. Named after the Australian Legend, Rod Laver, the tournament is scheduled to be held at The O2 Arena in the city of Prague, also called as the City of a thousand spires and one of the architectural gems of Europe. 

Germinating from the most endearing Roger Federer’s brain, the Laver Cup promises to be a Chartbuster tournament that looks to serve some fiery tennis for fans at the close of the calendar year.

The inaugural edition of the Laver Cup that will take place in the Czech capital, vouches to bring the best of men’s tennis players this weekend for a three-day tournament. Please do not mistake this as an exhibition. Like Roger Federer said that he does not Ike the word exhibition. He said that It’s a tournament where every player will play to win.

Since Federer had skipped the clay season this year, fans had gotten used to the picturesque Roger against the blue hard courts. There is a welcome change though with The Laver Cup promos showing the black hard court that seems to beguile the tennis world. 

The tournament is scheduled to be an annual affair with next year’s venue being somewhere in the United States. The event will begin two weeks after the U.S.Open every year except during the Summer Olympic years.

This newest three-day competition will be pitting six of the best men’s players in Europe against six of the best from the rest of the world. The tournament will be having both singles and doubles with three singles and one doubles match in a day.

All the matches will be best of three. If the match is split into sets then the third set will be decided with a 10 point tie-break.

Players who will be taking part

2017 US Open Tennis Championships - Day 14
Rafael Nadal will join Federer in Team Europe

The tournament is about the best from the Europe against the World. Team Europe comprises of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych. Team World, meanwhile, is represented by Sam Querrey, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and a slight change with Frances Tiafoe being added in place of Juan Martin Delpotro who has withdrawn due to health concerns just yesterday. 

Team Europe will have Bjorn Borg as captain and Thomas Enqvist as vice-captain. On the other hand, John McEnroe will be the captain for the Team World and Patrick McEnroe the vice-captain. This setting will be for the first three editions.

Along with Federer and Nadal who are the billboards of tennis, Alexander Zverev will also look to add some thunder in the European Team. The promising 20-year-old German, touted as a future World No. 1 and multiple Grand Slam winner has had a resurgent journey to the No 4 in the world rankings, while former US Open champion, Cilic and two-time Roland Garros semi-finalist, Dominic Thiem are the other top ten players on a powerful European side.

Berdych may no longer be in the top ten, but he’s been one of the greatest players so far in the Czech and cannot be ruled out when playing some scintillating tennis.

2017 US Open Tennis Championships - Day 9
Sam Querry will lead the charge for Team USA

Team Europe sees five players in the current top ten while the Team World does not have that glory. It has World no 16, Sam Querry who is the only high-ranked player in their team. They, of course, are joined by Jack Sock, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios who is a replacement of the injured Milos Raonic. Shapovalov is the captain’s pick in this team.

Will it be worth watching the Laver Cup?

There are many out there who must be in two minds whether to follow or watch the tournament or not. But the answer is yes, you must. Watching both Federer and Rafa on the same team or perhaps even playing doubles can be an exciting prospect.

World no. 20, Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov also will add the much-needed pep if they play doubles. 

With the scintillating form of Shapovalov this season and his recent Davis Cup performance, fans can savour another treat of tennis at the close of the year. Laver Cup’s unique format will also offer fascinating combinations.

Team Europe having two greats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will obviously be a favourite. Team World will, however, not go over without giving it a fight. It flaunts the likes of Four Americans and the smashing Shapovalov and Nick Krygios. All these reasons are good enough for fans to keep track of this tournament. 

Here are some rules governing the latest event

Each of the six players will play at least one singles’ match during the tournament, but no player will feature more than twice in singles over the three days. Also, at least four of the six players must take part in a doubles game. However, no doubles combination can be used more than once.

The Laver Cup has a different point system. Each win attracts one point on the first day, two points are awarded for victories on the second day, while the third and final day offers three points for the winners. Hence, with a cumulative total of 24 points to be won over the three days, whichever team first gets to 13 points will win the tournament.

There is the possibility that both teams could be tied on twelve points after the scheduled matches are completed. In that case, the winners will be split by an additional doubles match, called a ‘Decider’ played over a set with the ad scoring system and a regular tie-break if required.

With this promising setup of the Laver Cup, it should be intriguing to watch how this tournament manages to attract fans and whether it finds success in carving a niche in the tennis world. For a Federer fan like me, I have absolutely no doubts about this event making waves this weekend. 

Afterall Brand Federer is not a brand but more than the word. When the greatest of all time beckons, then there’s no looking back.

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