Federer's retirement, Big Four reunion... 5 good reasons to follow the tournament


Roger Federer signing autographs during the 2019 edition Panoramic

After Prague, Chicago, Geneva and Boston, the Laver Cup is setting up shop in London (September 23 to 25). Created in 2017 on the initiative of Roger Federer, this tennis version of the Ryder Cup (golf) sees a European team and a Rest of the world team compete. It's an exhibition, but here are 5 good reasons to turn on your TV this weekend.

The master's last bow

We know since last Thursday, the day he announced his retirement, that the Laver Cup would be Roger Federer's last official competition. Witnessing the last strokes of the Swiss racket on a tennis court would amply justify snatching up the last small places available at the O2 Arena in London, but be careful not to be too optimistic about his physical condition. " I won't play singles, it's impossible ", he confided to the Swiss media on Tuesday, before hoping " play Friday night the double ". A pair with his lifelong rival, Rafael Nadal? The two legends had already teamed up during the very first edition of the tournament, in Prague in 2017. But Federer, embarrassed by his capricious knee, reserves the right to give up. " If I don't play, it won't be a problem. The main thing is that I can thank the fans and that they can see me. The farewell to the public of the man with 20 Grand Slam titles promises to be particularly moving.

The unprecedented meeting of the Big Four

One, the Scottish Andy Murray, playing the tournament for the first time. The others, the Swiss Roger Federer, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal and the Serbian Novak Djokovic, have already participated but never all three at the same time, and none was from the previous edition in Boston. But London will have the chance this year to see the four tennis monsters united in the same team for the first time in history. Between 2011 and 2016, these eternal rivals won 90% of the "important" tournaments (Grand Slam, Masters 1000, Olympics and Masters), and they occupied exclusively and in turn the world's first place from 2004 to 2022. he European team thus has 66 Grand Slam titles in its ranks with the simple presence of these four men, who will be accompanied by the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas and the recent finalist of the US Open, the Norwegian Casper Ruud. Who will play with whom? Answer this weekend.

The return of the ostracized Djokovic

Among the members of the Big Four, we had become accustomed to the absence of Roger Federer on the courts, but another has also become rarer this season. Because he is not vaccinated against Covid-19, Novak Djokovic had missed the Australian Open at the start of the year after a incredible judicial and media soap opera, and was unable to take part in the North American tour this summer. The last time the Serb appeared on a tennis court was on the occasion of the Wimbledon final in Julywhere he triumphed over Nick Kyrgios to win his 21e Grand Slam title. His quest for another Major is, unfortunately for him, largely hampered by the health restrictions in place in many countries around the world. But fans of Djoko will have the pleasure of seeing him participate in the Laver Cup this weekend for the second time after the 2018 edition, with an uncertain state of form.

The ambition of the World team

Neither Nadal, nor Federer, nor Djokovic were present in the European team last year, but that did not prevent the World team from being severely beaten (14-1). This is the biggest defeat of the men in red, and especially the fourth in… four appearances. But this year, and despite still having a clear disadvantage in the ATP rankings (the best-ranked “World” player is Taylor Fritz, 12e, when the Europe team has four members of the top 10 with Ruud, Nadal, Tsitsipas and Djokovic), the team selected by John McEnroe seems to have strong arguments. Apart from Jack Sock, all the team members are in the top 25. The two Americans Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz are in good form, the former having made it to the semi-finals at the US Open, the latter having made two quarters at Wimbledon and Cincinnati. They will be accompanied by the solid Félix Auger-Aliassime, the experienced Diego Schwartzmann and the twirling Alex de Minaur. The X factor Nick Kyrgios will however not be present after three consecutive participations.

The prestigious captains

As every year since the creation of the tournament, it was the two legends Björn Borg and John McEnroe who had the honor of selecting the teams. The placid Swede and the bubbling American continue their mythical rivalry on the benches of the Laver Cup. On one side the mirror, the gentleman, restraint; on the other, fire, rebellion, passion. An opposition of style which had even been the subject of a film at the cinema in 2017 (Borg/McEnroe, directed by Janus Metz Pedersen). Borg advantage for now with four European victories in as many tournaments. Those nostalgic for the 80s will also find their account this weekend, with stars present on the courts and on the benches. Beginning of hostilities this Friday at 12 p.m.

SEE ALSO - Roger Federer's retirement: it's the player's "little death", says Martin Couturié



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