Team World defeats Team Europe 13-8 to win the Laver Cup: Roger Federer’s final tournament
Perhaps, it would have been too perfect an ending for the Swiss ace to take home one more trophy. Regardless, tennis fans will remain thankful.
While some will point to the idea that Team World won the Laver Cup for the first time, this was really only ever about the fact that one of Tennis’s greatest ever was saying goodbye to the game.
Roger Federer’s goodbye and Team World’s first win
If there’s one thing that Frances Tiafoe has developed in recent times, it’s a knack for spoiling the party. Indeed, Roger Federer could not hide his disappointment after watching the American take down his Team Europe teammate Stefanos Tsitsipas in a comeback 1-6, 7-6, 10-8 win, to help Team World lift their first ever Laver Cup trophy. With the defeat, Federer was of course denied to claim one last title before he says goodbye to the game that has made his, a name synonymous with the sport.
As for how the war was won, under John McEnroe’s captaincy, Tiafoe’s win took the group to the 13-point mark which in Laver Cup terms, means a win. In the end, Team World defeated Team Europe 13-8. Fans will remember, it was Tiafoe and Jack Sock who defeated Federer and Rafael Nadal in an emotionally charged doubles match on Friday. It was the 20-time grand slam winner’s last offering to the game of tennis. Needless to say, the irony was not lost on anyone, that just two days later it was Tiafoe once again who was the protagonist in Federer’s disappointment. “Yeah, of course I’m disappointed. I was on the team, almost lost my voice and my hands hurt from clapping,” Federer admitted. “We wish the result would be different. I told Andy [Murray] in the locker room, I don’t like losing. It’s not fun. It just leaves not the best taste, you know. I think once you have been there and taste success, it’s just not the same. I hope tonight can be still somewhat of an enjoyable evening. Of course, this weekend has been all over the place for me. I enjoyed it, but it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win.”
How did Team World win the Laver Cup?
Truth be told, one can understand Federer’s frustration. Team Europe was leading 8-4 as the sides headed into the third and final day of play. With that in mind, we will simply have to assume that Team World didn’t read the script. It was Felix Auger-Aliassime who got things off and running, as he and Sock sent Andy Murray and Matteo Berrettini packing in the doubles. If that wasn’t enough, he followed it up with a stunner of a performance against Novak Djokovic in a 6-3, 7-6 win. The victory took Team World to within a win of a trophy.
Enter Frances Tiafoe. Courting a cliche, the American actually lost the first set in 21 minutes to Tsitsipas, who appeared to be very much up for the occasion. Yet, the wind in the Greek’s sails appeared to subside during the battle of endurance that was the tie-breaker for the second set. Ultimately, it was Tiafoe who demonstrated that ice flows in his veins. The American’s daring dropshot was only overshadowed by the fact that he saved four match points en route to bringing the house down with a win. Jokingly, the hero of the day acknowledged his hand in robbing Federer of a last trophy. “[Federer] has got a lot to apologize for after the last 24 years after beating everybody on the tour! ...No, I won’t apologize, but I will say thank you for having me in this amazing event, you know, what he’s done for the game, also say thank you for what he did for the game. He’s a class act. Happy to know him, happy to call him a friend, happy to call him a colleague and best wishes in his second act, but I will not apologize.”