Laver Cup to Boston 2020
By GEORGE ROSE ‘21
In the fiercely individual sport of tennis, many felt for a long time that the Association of Tennis Professionals (the men’s pro tour) needed more team events. The Laver Cup, the hottest new tennis competition in the world, filled this gap and more, combining black courts, world class talent, and 21st century technology into a special three day event. From September 20–22, some of the world’s best tennis players travelled to Geneva, Switzerland for the third annual Laver Cup. The competition pitted a team of Europe’s best male players (including world number #3 Roger Federer and world number #2 Rafael Nadal) against a team of the rest of the world’s best players (including the highly entertaining Nick Kyrgios and American #1 John Isner) in a unique three day format. After only three editions, the Laver Cup has already become wildly popular, thanks in large part to the appeal of tennis superstars interacting, coaching, and cheering each other on from the sidelines. Team World and Team Europe take turns hosting the event, and on the last day of the competition this year, as Team Europe pulled off a thrilling comeback for its third victory out of three contests, the host city for the 2020 event was announced: Boston.
Through the end of 2016, there were only two team events for male professional tennis players: the Hopman Cup—an Australian tournament with players from eight countries that competed in a format that showed men’s singles, women’s singles, and mixed doubles (2019 was the last edition of the event)—and the Davis Cup, often called the World Cup of tennis, a team competition which dates back all the way to 1900 (when the United States took on the British Isles at the Longwood Cricket Club in Chestnut Hill). Roger Federer, along with his management company TEAM8, Tennis Australia, and former Davis Cup player and current Brazilian businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann, sought to fill this gap by creating an event similar to the Ryder Cup, which pits the best golfers from Europe against those from the United States. But with tennis now having become such a global sport, the group decided that a Europe vs. World competition would be more exciting for fans. They also decided to name the competition after Rod Laver, an Australian tennis legend who is most famous for winning all four Major Grand Slam tournaments first in 1962 and again in 1969 (Winning all four majors in a year is called a calendar slam, and only Rod Laver has managed this feat on the men’s side, let alone twice). Captaining each respective team is American John McEnroe and Swede Björn Borg, who, during their playing days, had arguably the greatest tennis rivalry ever.
Fans all around the world follow Boston’s four major sports teams, and so many are thrilled about the Laver Cup’s arrival at one of the world’s greatest sports cities. TEAM8 CEO and Laver Cup Chairman Tony Godsick states that “the city has a deep sporting culture, but it is also steeped in profound historical events, all of which resonate with the values of the Laver Cup and its tribute to the rich heritage of tennis,” adding that “Boston is the perfect setting for the Laver Cup.” Godsick isn’t the only one excited—John McEnroe says that Boston “is a phenomenal sports town” and that he “[expects] the fans will raise the roof for the home side.” Additionally, Governor Charlie Baker commented, “the Laver Cup is an amazing event and TD Garden is the perfect setting to see the best players in the world in action.” Most importantly, the competition’s namesake, Rod Laver, who is now 81 years old, says he is “delighted to see the fourth installment of the Laver Cup will be in Boston,” saying further that “It’s a wonderful city steeped in history, sports and culture. I can’t wait to get back there for the Laver Cup, it’s sure to be another memorable chapter in this event’s remarkable evolution.”
The Laver Cup will take place from September 25–27 in the TD Garden. Team World will once again try to get their hands on their first trophy, but you can be sure that a European team—with some of the greatest players of all time—will once again do everything they can to hold on to the cup.