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Sun, Dec. 08

Howard: What’s the Laver Cup all about?
My Point

The third annual “Laver Cup” just concluded this past Sunday in Geneva, Switzerland, with Team Europe taking yet another but closer match title – their third in its three-year history.

The Laver Cup, named for the famous Australian iconic tennis player Rod Laver, is held between two teams – “Team Europe” and “Team World” – in which members are composed of players from anywhere but Europe.

The idea sprung forth from golf’s Ryder Cup format, with Roger Federer and his management company (TEAM8) pulling the concept together and doing the successful promotion.

This now-ATP sanctioned event, held at different sites each year, two weeks after the US Open, will next year be in Boston, Massachusetts.

Each team consists of six top players from each region and each receives a guaranteed participation fee. The members of the winning team each receives $250,000 in prize money.

Twelve matches are played over three days (nine singles and three doubles). Each victory gives that team a number of points equal to the day the match was played. The first team to claim 13 points wins the tournament. Each player takes the court once or twice for singles, with at least four of the six taking part in doubles. All matches are played as best of three, with a 10-point tiebreak in lieu of a full third set.

The players are present at each match and, thus far, former rivals Bjorn Borg of Sweden and John McEnroe of the United States have served as captains for the first three editions, Prague in 2017, Chicago in 2018, and Geneva this year.

Seeing that the game of tennis in most regards is more of an individual/gladiator sport, it’s great to see and have five team members with a captain in your corner while you’re playing, to cheer and root you on, and during changeovers even be able to give you advice.

Where else might you get to see the likes of Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer playing doubles together, coaching each other and rallying behind each team member’s matches. It is kind of cool to see John Isner bringing Nick Kygious his towel, patting him on the back and lending encouragement.

It’s also nice to see completely sold out indoor stadiums from around the world getting to share what these great players and teams have to show – great athleticism, camaraderie, sportsmanship and certainly tennis entertainment to the max.

Will it become a real tradition like Davis or the Fed Cup, the Olympics and Grand Slams?

No one knows for sure yet, but it is getting a great start and if you show up in Boston next year, it’ll have one more year under its belt; so, let’s all put it on our agenda, what do you say?

Chris Howard is a local USPTA tennis professional with over 50 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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