2017 Laver Cup: It's time to make your betsAugust 26, 2016
Roger Federer won't participate in the US Open, but he was in New York before the final Grand Slam tournament of the year kicks off. He joined Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe, Bjorn Born, and Rod Laver for the announcement of inaugural Laver Cup. It would take place in Prague, Czech Republic on September 22-24, 2017. McEnroe and Borg, with 18 Grand Slam singles titles between them, would be the captains in this Ryder Cup-formatted tournament.
â€œIt's a total dream come true,â€ said Borg, who would reignite his rivalry against McEnroe.
he Laver Cup was created by Team8, the agency that represented Federer. It would be safe to say that the 17-time major winner won't be excluded from Team Europe. There won't be any doubts about Nadal's presence, as it would be a rare treat to see two rivals playing on the same side. And it might be a one-time thing. (Federer was mum after he was asked about Tokyo 2020.) TomÃ¡Å¡ Berdych, the top Czech player, would likely make it. The 2010 Wimbledon runner-up had been a Top 10 player for almost a decade.
Three singles matches and one doubles match will be played each day, a total of nine singles matches and three doubles matches. Both McEnroe and Borg could pick two players, while the rest of the team would be determined by the ATP rankings. It won't be too early to predict the results, as it's highly unlikely that the ATP Rankings will be different a year from now. Some observers didn't like the idea of adding another tournament to a crowded schedule, but a prize money would be at stake.
Here are five questions:
Who will comprise the rest of Team Europe? Stan Wawrinka will join Federer, Nadal, and Berdych for the singles. Both Swiss players can play the doubles, while fans would love to see Federer partner Nadal. If Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut keep their excellent form, then they will round up the team. Otherwise, Borg will settle on Jean-Julien Roger of the Netherlands and Horia Tecau of Romania. They won Wimbledon and the ATP World Tour finals last year.
How about Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray? The inaugural edition of the Laver Cup will have some issues (prior to the tournament), and one of which will be Djokovic and Murray not a part of the Team8 family. Federer had made it clear that there was nothing between him and the current number one player, but fans would suspect otherwise. As for Murray, he might be dead tired after another long season. He reunited with Ivan Lendl, and they would plan to increase his total number of Grand Slam titles. The Scotsman might play if Lendl is chosen as captain. It won't be the best of the rest of the world.
Who will face Team Europe? Kei Nishikori of Japan has been in the Top 10 during the last few years, so he would play in Prague. Milos Raonic of Canada is currently the top-ranked player who doesn't come from Europe. And it's likely that he won't drop out of the Top 10 next year. Nick Kyrgios is currently at number 16 in the ATP Tour rankings, and there's a good chance that he'll go up. Besides, there must be an Aussie player in the tournament. What happens between McEnroe and Kyrgios is anybody's guess. The seven-time Grand Slam champion will love to have an American participating in the inaugural event, and Steve Johnson is playing better these past months. The Californian is about to break the Top 20, and many observers think that he'll continue to move up.
Who will play the doubles in McEnroe's group? Jack Sock and Vasek Pospisil, the 2014 Wimbledon champion, seems to be a good choice. Sock, who has won two medals at the Rio Olympics, can team up with Johnson. (Both won the bronze medal at Rio.) The Canadian tandem of Raonic and Pospisil can cause an upset. Kyrgios tried his luck in doubles, and McEnroe might consider the Aussie playing along with Sock. It could work in their favor. He may opt to pick the two if they don't rank high next season.
Who will win the inaugural Laver Cup? It should be Team Europe on paper, but McEnroe's team can pull an upset. Federer and Nadal are past their prime, while Berdych had been inconsistent this season. Ditto with Wawrinka. McEnroe's wards may not have won a major title (except Sock and Pospisil), but they have been playing steadily for many seasons. And they may have their breakthrough next year.
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