Tennis is rarely a team sport, but this weekend it will be. The tennis version of the Ryder Cup will be held on the same dates as its golf predecessor, with a similar format.
The tournament is one of the most unique events the sport has to offer, and while the three biggest stars won’t be attending, there will be plenty of familiar faces at TD Garden in Boston.
Here’s what to look out for when Team Europe takes on Team World in one of the most underrated stages on the modern tennis calendar.
What is the Laver Cup?
An event introduced in 2017, the Laver Cup is unmistakably shaped by the structure of the Ryder Cup. Due to the structure of tennis, however, the teams are different.
Rather than Team Europe versus Team USA, the Laver Cup features Team Europe against Team World. This makes sense, as the Europeans have won the previous 47 Grand Slam titles in men’s singles. The last non-European to win one was Juan Martin Del Potro at the 2009 US Open.
Roger Federer and his TEAM8 management team spearheaded the creation of the event, named after Australian legend Rod Laver. The score is a bit different from regular ATP events, as players enter three set matches with a catch: if the match reaches a deciding set, it ends in a 10-point tie-break, creating some intense moments. .
Plus, each member of the winning team earns $ 250,000, nearly $ 100,000 more than Jannik Sinner won for his second place finish at the Miami Masters in 2021, to put the amount in context.
Federer himself was in the deciding match of the inaugural event, beating Nick Kyrgios in a 10-point tie-break in which he saved a match point. The 2017 iteration of the tournament set the tone for a competition that needs to be fiercely competitive and taken very seriously by the players.
Laver Cup 2021 Dates and place
The event will take place in Boston at the TD Garden, and will span from September 24 to September 26. In 2022, the Laver Cup will be held at the O2 Arena in London. It has already taken place in Prague (2017), Chicago (2018) and Geneva (2019).
For US viewers, the event can be viewed on the Tennis Channel. Fans from all other countries can be directed here.
History of the Laver Cup
Team Europe completely dominated the event, winning all 3 titles since the event started in 2017. There has not been a Laver Cup in 2020 due to the implications of COVID-19.
Whether it’s because of the level of the players competing, the tiebreaker in the third set of 10 points or the intensity of the Laver Cup, this event consistently features phenomenal matches.
As noted above, a savage battle between Federer and Kyrgios brought the tournament to a close in 2017, but the event also featured an equally fascinating match where John Isner defeated Rafael Nadal.
In 2018, Team Europe won the crown 13-8, facing little resistance from Team World. Nonetheless, an incredibly fun Djokovic / Federer doubles duo competed for the Europeans, and a close match between Kevin Anderson and Alex Zverev sealed a second title for Team Europe.
The last edition of the Laver Cup saw Team World have their best chances for glory, as Milos Raonic faced Zverev in a winning match. Once again, Zverev was able to show his courage and bring Europe to the finish line.
One of the most compelling moments of the game and tournament actually happened off the pitch, as fans got to hear Federer and Nadal’s coach Zverev ahead of the third set. Hearing players practice each other is a unique aspect that we get at the Laver Cup, which makes it all the more intriguing.
Team members 2021
Europe team will once again have a great advantage on paper this year despite the absence of “Big 3” members, as the 6 regulatory players are in the top 10 of the ATP rankings. Bjorn Borg will coach the team as he has done in the past.
|Feliciano Lopez (alt.)||Spain||110|
World Team will again be led by John McEnroe and will have enormous firepower on duty. However, the team’s highest ranked player is 11th in the world.
|Felix Auger Aliassime||Canada||11|
|Reilly Opelka||United States||19|
|John isner||United States||22|
|Jack Sock (Alt.)||United States||164|
Odds and betting format
While most American sportsbooks do not yet have the event available for betting, many European books do, with odds following a similar trend in previous years, having Team Europe -400 with Team World +300.
|2017||Europe Team -450 / World Team +340||Europe 15-9|
|2018||Europe Team -400 / World Team +300||Europe 13-8|
|2019||Europe Team -400 / World Team +300||Europe 13-11|
Look for odds to post in America as the week progresses, but value isn’t present for any of the teams in that format anyway. Instead, you’re much better off evaluating individual matches and finding opportunities there, like you would in a normal tennis tournament. With the scoring format as it is, upset is more possible than regular events due to the lack of a full third set.
If you are going to watch or bet on any tennis for the rest of the year, this will be one of the funniest occasions you have to do so.