It has officially kicked off the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, which is taking place at the TD Garden in Boston. The demonstration was canceled last year due to the effects of the pandemic. The event - conceived and commissioned by Roger Federer together with his agency 'Team 8' - was held for the first time in 2017 and became part of the ATP calendar starting from 2019.
Two teams compete for the trophy, the Team Europe and Team World, led by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe respectively. King Roger, who has always idolized the exploits of Rod Laver, intended to pay homage to him with an event that echoed the legendary Ryder Cup.
During Thursday's press conference, McEnroe expressed all his love for the Laver Cup and for the atmosphere that breathe on the race weekend. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were unable to take part in the tournament this year.
The Swiss and the Spaniard are recovering from some physical problems, while the Serbian is resting after failing the assault on the Grand Slam.
McEnroe praises Roger Federer
"I think it's pretty similar, actually," McEnroe said.
"I love team events. I played team sports as a kid. Loved Davis Cup, had a lot more meaning when I was playing it, I think." The American believes that the Laver Cup is a breath of fresh air, mainly due to the presence of on-court coaching, which is not allowed in other tournaments.
"So an event like this brings something new to the table for our sport, and I think it's awesome," he added. "You know, we get to sort of rally behind each other. Obviously in tennis there is not coaching very often, so it's just nice to be part of it in a small way for this week."
McEnroe further revealed that Rod Laver has always been his idol, while asserting that Roger Federer is a "total class act." "Rod Laver was my idol. Roger Federer obviously is a total class act," McEnroe said.
"He spearheaded this, getting this event started. To me, it's like a win-win for everyone. It's a no-brainer." Unlike other ATP tournaments, the Laver Cup has a really different and unique format. There are two teams, Team Europe and Team World, that comprise of six players each- headed by a captain.
Three players of each team qualify on the basis of ATP rankings at the time of the French Open while the captains pick the remaining three players. The decision of which player will play which match also lies in the hands of the captains.