Opinion: Why the Laver Cup might just be the tournament Roger Federer needs
Since the Wimbledon this year, Roger Federer has been unable to produce his best on court and his matches at Cincinnati and the US Open were best examples of that. He was just not finding his rhythm and in some ways, his confidence might have also been shaken up after being a touching distance away from winning his 21st major and losing it to Novak Djokovic.
After playing the sport for two decades and having seen everything, the fear of someone surpassing his majors' count might not be too colossal for the Swiss maestro but it is something he would be wary of before going into the Australian Open next year.
But, with each passing year, the chances of Roger Federer winning a major will become bleaker as the next-gen players found their torch-bearer in the form of Daniil Medvedev, who came close to claiming his first-ever major title before Rafael Nadal took it away from him at the Flushing Meadows. So, players like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev could take inspiration from the Russian and start competing for trophies at the highest level, especially at the majors.
With Nadal and Djokovic coming closer to beating his record and the youngsters making their mark, Federer would have to find ways to be on the winning side more often than not and continue his longevity in tennis. And, the Laver Cup will provide a wonderful opportunity for Roger to get back to winning ways.
Started in 2017, the Laver Cup is the braichild of Roger Federer and along with his agent, Tony Godsick and Tennis Australia, they launched the first edition at Prague. The matches were short and it presented an opportunity to see a player perform in more than one match since it's the best of three sets, with the last set being a 10-point tie-breaker.
Some people criticized the tournament schedule and stated that it would become too hectic for players to compete at the highest level as it starts two weeks after the US Open. But, there seemed to be no objection from the player's council in ATP and recently, it became an official ATP event. The players might not get any individual points but the prize money will be given to each player.
Let us look at how the Laver Cup might just inspire the Swiss Maestro.
Last year, after a disappointing loss to Kevin Anderson in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and his subsequent defeat to John Millman in the fourth round of the US Open, Federer had a tough season and it looked like the troubles might continue for the remaining tour.
But, his participation in the Laver Cup slightly changed his performance in the tournaments that followed as he did manage to win his home tournament in Basel, followed by semi-final appearances in both the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals.
The pressure of having to play and secure points will not be there in the Laver Cup and he can play with more freedom and since it's a team event, it would be refreshing to see players cheering for each other for a team victory.
The match he played against John Isner last year, where he had to face multiple match points and found a way to beat him might just be the adrenaline rush Roger needs to keep him going for the rest of the tour. Also, players seem to take this tournament seriously as the quality of tennis was no less than any official ATP tournament they would play to win more points and scale high in the rankings.
One more factor that could add is the return of Rafael Nadal to the Laver Cup and the possibility of them playing along with each other. This would not only be an eye-feast for tennis fans but also a great refresher for Roger Federer after a tough two months from July till the first week of September.
At this stage in his career where he has to balance winning and enjoying the passion towards the game equally, Roger Federer would want this Laver Cup to go well for him more than ever as it can thrust him forward to put up a commendable performance in the ATP events he is going to participate which probably includes Shanghai Masters, Swiss Indoors Basel, Paris Masters, and ATP World Tour Finals.
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:25 IST