Laver Cup: John McEnroe congratulates team Europe on their win
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The fourth edition of the Laver Cup concluded on Sunday with yet another win for the undefeated Team Europe. The tournament was co-created by Roger Federer and his manager as a Ryder Cup-style event to see the world’s best players join forces in honour of tennis legend Rod Laver. However, the Laver Cup has struggled to shake off the ‘exhibition’ label and become a significant event in the tennis calendar, and Team World captain John McEnroe has slammed the ATP for making a “mistake” that costs the tournament a Ryder Cup-level of status.
The Laver Cup was launched back in 2017, created as a collaboration between of Roger Federer, his TEAM8 management company, former Davis Cup player Jorge Paulo Lemann and Tennis Australia.
The tournament acts as the first Ryder Cup-style event in tennis, pitting players from Team Europe and Team World against one another in a three-day event, with all match wins worth one point on day one, two points on day two and three on the final day, with the first team to 13 winning.
It has picked up some momentum in recent years, becoming an official part of the ATP calendar back in 2019, but still isn’t seen as a more serious team event in the way the likes of the Davis Cup are, and received little hype in comparison to its supposed golf counterpart the Ryder Cup, with both 2021 tournaments taking place over the same weekend.
John McEnroe, the captain of Team World at all four editions so far, has since criticised the ATP and pointed out the biggest “mistake” that has stopped the Laver Cup becoming as significant to tennis as the Ryder Cup is in golf.
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“This is my personal opinion, but I don’t think there should be any tournaments going on if they want to try to get to the level of a Ryder Cup, say,” the seven-time Grand Slam champion said, after Team World suffered their fourth defeat in as many Laver Cup tournaments.
“It’s got to stand on its own.”
All four editions of the Laver Cup have been held while other ATP events are taking place, which offer rankings points where the team tournament doesn’t.
Even Daniil Medvedev, the recent US Open champion and world No 2 who played the Laver Cup for the first time this weekend, admitted he had skipped previous editions to play the ATP 250 in St Petersburg.
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McEnroe continued: “It’s not going to be like, ‘Well, other players need to be able to play and … get their points in Kazakhstan or wherever they are right now.’
“I just don’t agree with that. I think it’s a mistake by the ATP.”
Currently, each Laver Cup team is comprised of six players, with three qualifying based on their their ATP singles ranking as of the Monday following the French Open.
The remaining three are ‘captain’s picks’, announced by the start of the US Open.
The team captains must be ‘legends’ of the sport, with Bjorn Borg and McEnroe holding the roles since the inaugural event.
While Team Europe comprised of six top-ten players this year – as all top ten players are currently from Europe in the most recent rankings update – ensuring there is no other tour-level event played over Laver Cup weekend would attract interest from more top players to consistently enter the annual event, with the likes of world No 1 Novak Djokovic only having played once in four editions.
“It’s difficult to sort of get, sort of, the respect that I think this deserves,” the Team World captain added.
“It tears me up.”
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