Chicago Will Host 2018 Laver Cup; Team Europe Wins '17 Edition In Prague
Chicago will host the '18 edition of the Laver Cup -- a new, all-star team tennis tournament -- "marking a significant coup for a city that rarely has occasion to stage major events that draw the sport's top athletes," according to Dawn Rhodes of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The event will be held at the United Center from September 21-23, 2018, according to news releases from the tournament and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office. The Laver Cup, named for Australian former tennis player Rod Laver, features two teams of six players: Team Europe vs. Team World. The format is three days of three singles and one doubles match. Each match is best-of-three sets with ad scoring, and a third-set tiebreaker to 10 points. The Laver Cup wrapped its inaugural edition in Prague, Czech Republic, on Sunday, headlined by the "wildly popular" Rafael Nadal of Spain and Roger Federer of Switzerland, currently the world's top-ranked players. Federer clinched a 15-9 victory for Team Europe in the last singles match by defeating Nick Kyrgios of Australia in a "dramatic" three-set contest. Europe and other world cities alternate venues in each edition (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/24). In London, Stuart Fraser wrote for those wondering if this weekend's inaugural Laver Cup was just another exhibition event, Nadal issued a "defiant riposte" on Friday. He said, "It is not an exhibition at all. We are here to try our best. I woke up today at 4am to practice. I don't practice before an exhibition match normally." It was "exactly the answer you would expect from a man being paid an appearance fee, believed to be in the high six figures, to participate in an event that is the brainchild of his archrival," Roger Federer. Although there was no prize money or ranking points at stake in Prague, there was "undeniably the sense" that this had "more meaning to it than your average hit-and-giggle." The "respect that Federer commands" helped, both in attracting players and sponsors -- Rolex and Mercedes-Benz among them -- to get on board. The initial impressions of this first-time event are of a "slick operation, from marketing to logistics behind the scenes at the O2 Arena" (LONDON TIMES, 9/23).
'UNFORGETTABLE': The AFP reported after Nadal and Federer won their singles rubbers, "all eyes at Prague's sold-out O2 Arena were then on the two legends who played on the same side of the net for the first time in careers which have stretched the best part of two decades." The pair "visibly enjoyed the experience, with Federer laughing off a massive air shot halfway through the set." But they both denied planning a future as a doubles pair, saying that it was "not a good idea." Federer told Nadal, "I don't want to kill your expectations." Nadal said, "It was unforgettable for both of us after the history we have behind us as rivals. Something we really enjoyed a lot" (AFP, 9/24). The INDIAN EXPRESS wrote it "goes without saying that witnessing the two greats playing together for Europe in Prague was a dream come true for fans." Fans across the globe loved the match and took to Twitter to share their excitement. While some said that they had been "waiting for it for 13 years," others said that "they need more of this" in their lives (INDIAN EXPRESS, 9/24).