While a Federer-Nadal team is mouth-watering on paper, one can’t help but wonder if this event is a bit too late in coming.

Why the Laver Cup and Federer-Nadal combo are nearly not as exciting as they soundImage: Twitter/Laver Cup
news Sport Sunday, August 28, 2016 - 09:39

Aditya Ramani

A couple of days ago, five of the greatest names in men’s tennis gathered at the conference room of a New York City hotel to announce that the inaugural edition of the Laver Cup, to be held in 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Modelled after the Ryder Cup of Golf, the Laver Cup will pit four top European players against four top players from the rest of the World. The event is named after one of those great men, Rod Laver, who is the only man to achieve the calendar Grand Slam (in the Open Era). The other four men will be playing important roles in opening edition as well. The European captain will be Bjorn Borg, winner of 9 grand slam titles in the 70s. Playing for Europe will be Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (31 grand slam titles between them) with the exciting prospect of them teaming up for doubles. Meanwhile, the Rest of the World team will be captained by John McEnroe, who has 7 grand slam titles to his name.

In the aftermath of that announcement, the following thoughts come to mind, perhaps toning down the initial excitement.

It’s a bit too late for Federer-Nadal

While a Federer-Nadal team is mouth-watering on paper, one can’t help but wonder if this event is a bit too late in coming. Purely from a competitive perspective, Federer and Nadal are both past their prime. As little as 3 years ago, this thought would not have flitted through the head. Things aren’t the same now. Both stalwarts have missed major events in 2016 and Federer in particular seems to have run out of his miraculous luck with injury. And we are talking about them playing together more than a full year from now. It really is hard to get excited at this point.

It’s mostly a no-contest for the Rest of the World

There are only 5 non-European players in the top 20. The 4 greatest players of the past decade are all European. The only non-European player to win a major title since 2005 is currently ranked outside the top 100. Even the upcoming generation of players is being led by Europeans. The rest of the world is a heavy underdog.

Where will it go after Prague?

The event is set to be played every year except Olympic years. It will be held over a weekend following the US Open. The event is also set to be played at various locations across the world. Now, the post – US Open period is when the Asian hard court tournaments begin. The IPTL saw some decent crowds across its various Asian venues. Naturally, when you put these two together, you got to hope that this new parade stops by somewhere close to home.

Federer sounded really optimistic about the participation of the other top players. He thinks it should be a no brainer for the guys to spend a fun weekend with all the best players. In all honesty, that sounds like Federer’s inner tennis fan speaking. He’s always had a rosier perspective of the sport than the rest of his colleagues. It would be quite an achievement for the top players to commit to it regularly, let alone this event becoming a regular feature in the tennis calendar.

 

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