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Why Laver Cup will always remain special to Roger Federer

ANALYST
Feature
322   //    12 Sep 2019, 01:30 IST

Team Europe with the inaugural Laver Cup in 2017
Team Europe with the inaugural Laver Cup in 2017

Started in 2017 as a tribute to the great Rod Laver and regarded initially as an exhibition tournament, the Laver Cup is slowly defying odds and criticism to gain popularity as it tries to attract more and more people in what can be considered a shorter version of tennis.

Now, speculations are rife that team Europe is bound to win this year's Laver Cup for the third time as they look strong on paper when compared to team World. With Kei Nishikori pulling out of the tournament due to promotional activities for the Japan Open, the captain of the team World, John McEnroe had to pick Taylor Fritz and Jack Sock to replace the injured Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori.

Even though it might still take a few more years for more people to accept the format and the idea behind this tournament, it's a different feeling for both fans and players to see their favourite athletes play as a team and try to win the Laver Cup.

Been regarded as one of the brains behind the idea of this tournament and its format, Roger Federer is keen to make his mark this year as well after being able to contribute successfully over the past two editions of the tournament.

Apart from these reasons, here is why this tournament will always remain special to the Swiss maestro.

Roger Federer could be deemed realistic in terms of putting things in perspective and not falling into the trap of his image and regretting it later. Even though the desire of a champion is always there, he knew that it's not going to be easy to survive the competition coming from all sides and he was well aware that he cannot win it all.

Now, this might be touted a bit selfish from Roger's point of view, but a tournament launched by him will always have a place for him despite him playing professional tennis or not. Hence, even after retirement, we could still see him play this tournament for a few years before taking up the role of mentoring the team.

By launching this tournament, he made sure that he will connect with his admirers directly for as long as possible and unlike other post-retirement professions like commenting on matches, participating in an annual tournament will always make sure he connects with people more easily than ever.

For a man who seems to be dedicating quite a huge amount of time to family, it is highly unlikely that Roger would take up coaching for any player and despite the idea of being coached by Roger being a dream come true for many players, the chances of that happening are as bleak as possible.

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Since he can almost take ownership of this tournament and feel it his own, he could always have the flexibility of being on-court in whichever way possible, be it as a player or a mentor. This might or might not be correct, but this angle of trying to stay connected to his fans on a more personal basis even after his retirement would probably have been there in Roger's mind before coming up with the idea for this tournament.

For what it's worth, Laver Cup is bound to attract more and more fans in the coming years but its longevity entirely depends upon the players and the benefits they are going to get by participating in this tournament apart from the prize money.

Can ATP allot individual points to players participating in this tournament? This doesn't seem possible in the current scenario and even in the future, it might not happen as the organizers have to find more ways of attracting people towards this tournament.

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