Laver Cup: what is it, how does it work, ATP points and format
As we prepare for the fifth Laver Cup, we take a look at the tournament’s history, format, and how it fits into the grand ATP Tour scheme
Back in 2017, in an attempt to recreate golf’s Ryder Cup in the tennis world, Roger Federer approached Brazilian businessman and former Davis Cup player, Jorge Paulo Lemann, and Tennis Australia to create a new tournament. Named in honor of one of the greatest tennis players to have ever trod the courts, Australian legend Rod Laver, the new tournament would be held on indoor hard courts annually.
In the golf model, where the format pits a team from the USA squared off against a team made up of pan-European players, the epicenter of the tennis world is Europe and so it was decided that the Laver Cup format should see a European team face off against a World team, whose players can be from anywhere other than the European continent.
With the inaugural 2017 event held in the Prague O2 in the capital of the Czech Republic, a format was hit upon that would see the tournament alter between a location in Europe and a location in the rest of the world. The second event travelled to Chicago’s United Center before returning to Europe for 2019′s event in Geneva, Switzerland at the Palexpo. Covid saw the 2020 event cancelled, and it came back to the US in 2021 to be held in the Boston TD Garden. 2022 sees the event once more in Europe, at London’s O2 Arena in the UK.
This year, Europe will be captained by Björn Borg, leading a lineup full of stars. World ranked number two Casper Ruud, number six Stefanos Tsitsipas, former world number one Andy Murray, and the Big Three: Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer, in his professional swan song.
The international team captained by John McEnroe will see 12th-ranked American Taylor Fritz, 19th-ranked American Frances Tiafoe, and world 128 American Jack Sock team up with 13th-ranked Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, 17th-ranked Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, and Australia’s world 22 Alex de Minaur.
The competition is divided into three days of play, with each day featuring four matches: three singles and one doubles. Friday wins are worth one point, Saturday wins two and Sunday wins three. 24 total points are put into play and the champion will be the player who reaches 13 points. In the event of a tie at 12 points, then a doubles match would decide which team will win.
All matches will be best-of-three sets, with the difference being that the third set will be a 10-point super tie-break.
Tennis players’ participation
Each player must play at least one singles game in the first two days, but no one can play more than two throughout the competition. This is to preserve the team ethos, preventing one side from leaning too heavily on one player, or hiding their weakest link away from singles action. At least four of the six players from each team must play in a doubles match. Pairs cannot be repeated, except in the decisive match if there is a tie at 12 points.
Since 2019, the Laver Cup has been an officially sanctioned ATP Tour event. While the guaranteed participation fees are based upon the players’ ATP rankings, the tournament itself does not count toward the players’ point totals for that year. Each member of the winning team will receive an additional $250,000 in prize money.
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