Roger Federer hailed ‘class act’ by John McEnroe after Team Europe’s Laver Cup win

Laver Cup: Roger Federer says atmosphere was ‘phenomenal’

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Roger Federer was commended by tennis legends John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg as the 2021 Laver Cup reached its conclusion. Team Europe were able to lift the trophy for a fourth successive year after a dominant display that saw them lose just one match during the three-day team event. It was the first year Federer was unable to play for the team in the tournament he co-created after undergoing a third knee surgery but he surprised everyone by arriving in Boston to watch and cheer on the squad from the stands.

Last month, Federer announced he would be off the tour for “many months” after making the decision to go under the knife for the third time in less than two years after suffering a setback with his ongoing right knee injury during the grass-court season.

As well as missing the US Open, the world No 9 was also forced to pull out of the Laver Cup – his Ryder Cup-style brainchild tournament, created to honour the great Rod Laver.

The 2021 edition marked the first Laver Cup that Federer did not play, though Team Europe were able to step up in his absence and secure their most dominant victory yet, winning 14 points to Team World’s one, with their only loss coming in a doubles match on the opening night.

Although the Swiss tennis star was unable to play in the event, he surprised everyone by flying to Boston to watch on from the stands, even giving some of his former Europe teammates coaching advice from his front-row seat by the baseline.

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Following Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev’s doubles win over Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov to secure victory for Team Europe, captains Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe praised Federer for making a last-minute appearance at the TD Garden.

“I just wanna thank these three people – first of all, the fact that Roger Federer came, amazing, absolutely unbelievable,” seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe said during the trophy presentation, as his Team World lost for a fourth successive time.

“Roger, total class act,” he declared.

Stepping up for his victory speech, Team Europe captain and McEnroe’s former rival Bjorn Borg joked that the American had ‘taken’ his speech but still paid tribute to Federer, a former member of the squad, and echoed the thoughts of many when he wished for the former world No 1 to return to tennis soon.

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“Of course one of our team-mates Roger Federer is here this week, supporting the team,” he said, after sharing how proud he was of his 2021 Team Europe squad.

He continued: “I think you’re still in Team Europe, I hope you are, and I hope you come back soon and play tennis.”

Federer himself gave an update on his injury recovery after making his surprise appearance in Boston, and admitted he was finally felt he was over “the worst”, though admitted it would till take several more months before he could attempt a comeback.

“I’ve just got to take it step by step,” the 40-year-old told former player and Laver Cup presenter Jim Courier.

“I’ve got to first walk again properly, run properly and then do the sidesteps and all the agility work and then eventually I’ve got to be back on the tennis court. But it’s going to take me a few more months and then we’ll see how things are at some point next year.”

Although the Laver Cup co-creator accepted it would be a while until he would be back on a match court, he felt positive as he looked to the future.

He added: “I’ve got to take my time. I don’t want to rush into anything at this point. This is also for my life. I want to make sure I can do everything I want to do later on.

“There’s no rush with anything, so I’m actually in a really good place. I think the worst is behind me.

“I took the time and, I don’t know, I’m just really in a good place. I’m really happy.”
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