The More Laver Cup in Tennis the Better

published: Sep, 24, 2018

by: Charles Blouin-Gascon

Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks back on the week that was in the world of tennis. This week, Charles Blouin-Gascon recaps the 2nd annual Rod Laver Cup held over the weekend in Chicago.

Welcome to Chicago for the Laver Cup, which was so fun the first time around that we decided to give it another go in 2018.

If you go back in time to a year ago, it sure felt then like the Laver Cup, this new tournament, had emerged out of nowhere; that the sport of tennis, which is otherwise seemingly so slow on embracing changes at every turn, had fast-tracked what remained a big unknown in the tennis world.

Why had it packed its calendar with a more or less meaningless tennis exhibition? Well because the initiative was backed by the great Roger Federer, who could probably go no. 2 in a bucket at this point and have people call it gold, but also and mostly because sometimes life just needs to be fun. It’s tough to get rid altogether of events on your calendar if and when money is involved but if you instead have the chance to have harmless fun (and still be in the news for all the right reasons), then you take this chance and run with it.

I mean, what do you call this if not fun?

And so, the tennis world has descended upon Chicago once again for what’s another large party.

Are you still somewhat bewildered by this event? That’s normal. Here’s, again, a primer.

Still not sure I understand exactly what the Laver Cup is.

Well do you play tennis yourself?

Sure.

Okay and do you play real actual matches every single time you step on a court?

No.

Exactly.

Uh-huh.

That’s more or less what the Laver Cup is like: you play matches, sure, but they really don’t mean much. You just play to have fun.

Okay and who plays these meaningless matches of the Laver Cup?

John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg are captaining, respectively, Team World and Team Europe with each team counting on six players who are selected per their singles ranking, or something, but who cares.

Name names, who’s actually playing?

Team Europe went with Federer, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Novak Djokovic, David Goffin, Kyle Edmund and alternate Jeremy Chardy. Meanwhile, donning the colours of Team World were Kevin Anderson, John Isner, Diego Schwartzman, Jack Sock, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe and Nicolas Jarry.

So basically: actual good players against a who’s who of journeymen for Team World?

Basically: yep, although you’d be surprised to learn that even the best do some dumb things sometimes.

Right, that’s all fine and dandy but, like, what’s the main draw going with the Laver Cup?

How do you mean? Watching Djokovic hit doubles partner at the net isn’t enough for you?

Yeah, well it just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Alrighty then. Well the one real initiative that the Federer & Co. gang have preached is creating a formula where every single match, or thereabout, means something in the grand scheme of the competition. With the Laver Cup, teams grab one point for every match won on the Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday. And the first team to get to 13 points wins it all.

This year, it was again Team Europe emerging victorious with a 13-8 overall win. But Sock and Kyrgios, from Team World, are the real winners for giving us this GIF that will live on until the end of time.

Fun, right?

Yes.

Good.

Okay, so the Laver Cup is basically what the Davis Cup should have aimed to become before we went and, like, changed it all?

Those are your words, not ours.

.

.

.

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But yes, basically.

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG

Charles Blouin-Gascon

I'm the mastermind (I use this word very generously) of the 'Tennis Elbow' column, which looks at the previous week in the world of tennis. I try to bring humor to my coverage, because life's much better when you're smiling. I can also hit a mean backhand down the line.

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