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How to improve the Laver Cup

Roger Federer of Switzerland during the men's singles match between Switzerland and Great Britain on day 2 of the Hopman Cup tennis tournament at RAC Arena in Perth, Sunday, December 30, 2018. (AAP Image/Tony McDonough)
Roar Rookie
20th September, 2019
0

Team Europe will win the Laver Cup. This is not a prediction. This is a fact.

Why? Well, take a look at the teams. Team Europe boasts Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas, Fabio Fognini and Roberto Bautista Agut, who is the team’s alternate.

Their lowest-ranked player, Fabio Fognini, is number 11 in the world. There’s no doubt about it, the team is stacked with talent.

In contrast, Team World consists of John Isner, Milos Raonic, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov, Jack Sock, Taylor Fritz and Jordan Thompson, who is the team’s alternate. Their highest-ranked player, John Isner, is number 20 in the world. That’s a damning statistic.

Team World will make the contest competitive no doubt, as they did in 2017 and 2018. However, it seems highly unlikely that a team with Federer and Nadal will lose any tournament, let alone the Laver Cup.

They’re competitive people, which is probably why they’re two of the greatest tennis players ever.

Yes, I know the players don’t gain any ATP points as a result of participating. But still, it’s frustrating to see how one-sided this tournament is.

So, I’ve listed some potential solutions below.

Team Federer versus Team Nadal
In order to make this a genuine competition, there can’t be one team with six players who are ranked inside the top ten of the ATP rankings playing against another team that doesn’t have any. That’s just unfair, no matter how you look at it.

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While it’s fantastic to see Federer and Nadal playing doubles, the result of the tournament seems to be decided when the teams are selected. There is no suspense, so what’s the point of watching the tournament?

That’s why the teams have to be split evenly, in terms of rankings and current form.

Just imagine it. Federer, Djokovic and Thiem on one team. Nadal, Medvedev and Zverev on the other. Now that would be entertaining.

Rafael Nadal

(Photo by Lev Radin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Women’s singles and doubles
Introducing women’s singles to the Laver Cup could give Team World an edge that they haven’t had before, as they would have access to Serena and Venus Williams. This would give Team World an advantage in not only singles, but also doubles as well.

This scenario would also be appealing for Team Europe since they would have access to players such as Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina. The possibilities would be endless, which leads to my next point.

Mixed doubles
Imagine Roger Federer and Simona Halep against Nick Kyrgios and Serena Williams. Or Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber against John Isner and Sloane Stephens. Matches involving all of these players would definitely be interesting to watch.

It would undoubtedly be intriguing to see the chemistry between the players or lack thereof. It would also be entertaining to see Federer and Williams in action, reminiscent of the Hit for Haiti Charity Fundraiser at the Australian Open in 2010.

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While I have some issues with it, I have to admit that the Laver Cup is still an entertaining tournament in its own right. However, it would arguably become a more engaging competition if both teams were evenly matched.