Federer, Nadal play starring roles in Europe’s inaugural Laver Cup win

 Everything the inaugural Laver Cup touched turned to gold during three memorable days at the O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic. The same can be said of Roger Federer.

In a competitive, fun, emotional, and countless-other-adjectives team event, Federer compiled a 3-0 record–all on the final two days–and won the clinching point in a thrilling singles match against Nick Kyrgios as Team Europe held off Team Europe by a total of 15 points to nine on Sunday evening. The Swiss propelled the Europeans past the finish line by edging Kyrgios 4-6, 7-6(6), 11-9.

A contest that saw both men win a total of 86 points came down to a pair of tiebreakers. In the second-set ‘breaker, Kyrgios–who recovered from a break down to force it–fought off three set points before losing it. It was Federer’s turn to stage a comeback in the super-‘breaker. The 36-year-old saved one match point and then clinched his first chance when Kyrgios netted a forehand at 9-10.

Team World gave itself a shot by winning two of the first three matches, as John Isner and Jack Sock beat Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych in doubles before Isner upset Rafael Nadal 7-5, 7-6(1) to set the stage for Federer vs. Kyrgios. With each match counting three points on Sunday, a victory by the 22-year-old would evened the score at 12-12 and forced a winner-take-all doubles showdown.

“I was ready to go; I had to be,” Federer reflected. “That’s what a team member does. The boys played fantastic all weekend, but we knew it could change very quickly on Sunday. The Team World boys have been great–in the doubles especially–and we knew it was going to be tough. I was looking at getting ready for a doubles (match) at the very end. I’m very pleased and relived that we did win the singles and got it done.”

“It was tough,” Kyrgios said. “When I’m playing for myself, sometimes I don’t put the greatest effort in. When I play with these guys I’m playing for something as a team. I’m playing for the whole team. It’s the same in Davis Cup. I’m playing for the country, playing for the guys on the bench. I know that every single one of these guys up here has put effort into this week, whether that’s practice or supporting other guys.”

“I’m most proud of these guys,” Team World captain John McEnroe commented, referring to his six-man squad. “They put fought with their heart and soul and put everything into this. And we were so, so close to pulling this off.”

McEnroe and company will get a chance for revenge next September when they have home-court advantage in Chicago.

Federer has already said he will be there, and why not? The world No. 2 won both of his singles matches and his highly-anticipated doubles partnership with Nadal. Federer and Nadal beat Jack Sock and Sam Querrey in a super-tiebreaker on Saturday. Nadal also won his Saturday singles contests, outlasting Sock 6-3, 3-6, 11-9.

5 Comments on Federer, Nadal play starring roles in Europe’s inaugural Laver Cup win

    • Same here. Was a mix of good to great tennis and lots of fun! What’s not to like? Rafa said “can’t wait for next year” re the Laver Cup so I expect he’ll be back.

  1. Most surprising was chemistry between rafa and fed. Difficult to believe they are hard-core rivals. Their doubles was a treat and the way Rafa was cheering Fed in match against kyrgios was treat to watch. The way he lept into Fed’s arms after the win was the best part n highlight reel of laver cup. Rafa is a complete team player .

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