Laver Cup, the team competition in men's tennis, will once again be heavily favoured towards Team Europe when the fourth edition gets underway on Friday. Even without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to bolster their ranks, Europe are strong contenders to win for the fourth year running.
The competition will be staged in Boston after Prague, Chicago and Geneva in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Held in a Ryder Cup style format that pits players from Europe and World against each other in singles and doubles matches will be headlined by US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev.
On paper, Team Europe are the clear favourites. In their midst are six of the top-10 players in the world in the form of Medvedev, Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud. For the team captained by Bjorn Borg, keeping the tension between Medvedev and Tsitsipas on the down low will be the major ask. The Russian and Greek players share history going back to the Miami Open in 2018.
Testy denouement to the Medvedev-Tsitsipas NextGen clash in Miami today: pic.twitter.com/0TBQOF0cje
" Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 22, 2018
The tension has been simmering ever since. It has been stirred time and again with both players making some tasty claims in the media. Recently, Tsitsipas told The Antenna in Greece, "He is very stable as a player. He is a very difficult opponent and it surprises me that with this kind of tennis he manages to win. It's not boring, but it is one-dimensional."
Over on the other side of the net, Team World have zero top-10 players but with four in between 11 and 20 in the world. Nick Kyrgios, at World No 95, is misleading considering he has the capability to beat the top-10 players except he's a bit of a part-timer at the moment. If settings mattered, competing in the city of his favourite NBA team (Boston Celtics) could spur the Aussie on.
The Laver Cup is a three-day tournament pitting a team of six of the best tennis players from Europe against six of their counterparts from the rest of the World.
Singles and doubles matches are played in a best of 3 sets with Ad scoring. If one set all, the third set will be a first to 10 points tiebreak.
Scoring: Each match win will be worth one (1) point on Friday, two (2) points on Saturday and three (3) points on Sunday. The first team to reach 13 points will win the Laver Cup. If the teams are tied at 12-12, a decider will be played on Day 3 to determine the winner.
Rules for Decider: If needed, the doubles match will be played as a regular set with ad scoring and a tiebreak at six games all
Points to remember: The shot clock will be 20 seconds; 90 seconds between games and 120 seconds between sets. There will be 10 minutes between matches in a day.
WHO IS IN TEAM EUROPE?
" Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 22, 2021
Players: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud. Feliciano Lopez is the reserve player
Captain: Bjorn Borg
Vice-captain: Thomas Enqvist
WHO IS IN TEAM WORLD?
" Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 22, 2021
Players: Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios. Jack Sock is the reserve player
Captain: John McEnroe
Vice-captain: Patrick McEnroe
Day 1 (Friday, 24 September) - afternoon session (10 PM IST): Two singles matches
Day 1 (Friday, 24 September) - evening session (4 AM IST): A singles match and a doubles match
Day 2 (Saturday, 25 September) - afternoon session (10 PM IST): Two singles matches
Day 2 (Saturday, 25 September) - evening session (4 AM IST): A singles match and a doubles match
Day 3 (Sunday, 26 September) - afternoon session (9 PM IST): A doubles match followed by three singles matches
Note 1: If only one match is required on Day 3 to decide the 2021 Laver Cup, a doubles exhibition will be played.
Note 2: If the teams are not separated after 12 matches, a decider will be played.
WHO IS THE BROADCASTER IN INDIA?
The broadcast rights for the Laver Cup in India are held by Sony Network. The three days' worth of tennis action will be available on Sony Six, Sony Six HD and on SonyLiv.
WHO ARE THE PREVIOUS WINNERS?
2017: Team Europe beat Team World 15-9 in Prague
2018: Team Europe beat Team World 13-8 in Chicago
2019: Team Europe beat Team World 13-11 in Geneva
Federer, the brains behind the Laver Cup, will be missing due to a knee surgery. But he's not keeping himself away from all the activity while stating he believes Europe will make it four in a row. "I think Team Europe will be again the favourites, and I think having Sascha Zverev as Olympic champion and Daniil Medvedev as the US Open champion on the team, it's going to be really good for us, especially for the singles," he said in an interview.
"I think doubles indoors " anything is possible, to be honest. I think it's going to be close in the doubles. In the singles we have a slight edge, but they have a lot of young players on Team World, so I think a lot will be possible for them."
"I'm going to miss it because I had a wonderful time in Geneva, Prague and Chicago, but I've already been in touch with Thomas Enqvist, the coach of Team Europe, and I will also definitely call Bjorn and John (McEnroe) and make sure everything is okay."
"And obviously, I'll be in touch with the team and I'll be watching a lot of the matches. It's going to be long tennis days in front of the TV, so I'm really excited that it's Laver Cup time again."