Friday, February 05, 2016

The "Laver Cup" - Roger Federer's new event - is set for September 2017 debut

Team8, who represent Roger Federer, are the agency behind a Ryder Cup-style exhibition event – the Laver Cup – that is scheduled to begin in September 2016.

Pitting a team of tennis players from Europe against a 'Rest of the World' team, this Ryder Cup-esque event is named after the great Rod Laver – winner of 11 Grand Slam titles. The tournament will last for three days, and take place every year bar that of the Summer Olympics.

With Rio 2016 just around the corner, the first edition of the Laver Cup will launch in 2017. It is a men's event, offers no ranking points, and will not yet be considered an ATP tournament.

Teams will consist of six players each, with four have qualified through ATP rankings, while the last two are picked by team captains. Singles and doubles matches will be played during the event.

Unlike the off-season's IPTL, which got off the ground by paying top players to participate, there will be no appearance fees paid to the competitors. Prize money, however, will be awarded.

It is planned that once the tournament has debuted on European indoor hard-courts, it will transfer between international and European venues in ensuing years.

This whole idea – based on golf's Ryder Cup, which pits Europe against the USA – was apparently the brainchild of world no. 3 Roger Federer, whose respect for tennis legend Rod Laver is mirrored in the impending tournament's name.

“Rod Laver is always someone I've thought of as very inspiring,” Federer commented.

“I think it's important to leave a legacy for the legends, and Rod Laver to me stands out because of his achievements and his character and everything."

The new Laver Cup is not, however, likely to introduce itself without some commotion. Besides the fact that it has been plunged into a highly busy tennis season, there is the likelihood that it will clash with the Davis Cup – a longstanding tennis team event that has been resurrecting popularity in recent years. Federer, of course, is well aware of this.

“Obviously, everything you add to a schedule, take away from a schedule, always has an impact. That's the craziness of tennis,” the Swiss stated as he addressed the matter. “But that doesn't mean it's negative necessarily.

“I think the Davis Cup with its history is incredible. It's never going to go away. I don't think [the Laver Cup and the Davis Cup] are going to rival each other very much, to be quite honest. One is over four weeks and it carries through the entire year, while this is for only like a weekend. Other than it's a team competition, I don't see any other similarities, really.”

And the tennis great has a high-profile vision for the tournament.

“The prospect should be very exciting in itself. I've never played doubles with Rafa, Novak or Andy, so that could be a first there maybe: Us supporting one another, high-fiving each other. I think it could be very cool.”

Australia's Rod Laver tends to agree.

“It's just a great honour that my name is going to be on this,” the 77-year-old commented on Friday. “I think it will be fair competition and very competitive. It's in golf, and it's been successful any time they've done it with the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. It's a unique concept in tennis.”

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