Tennis news - Nick Kyrgios v Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev returns after US Open: What to look for at Laver Cup
Nick Kyrgios will bring his box-office appeal to the Laver Cup this week while US Open champion Daniil Medvedev makes his return alongside Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. Team Europe are undefeated so far at the event, which this year will be played in Boston from September 22-24, live on Eurosport.
‘Keep the points under five shots!’ - The time Nadal coached Federer at Laver Cup
The Laver Cup returns this week as Team World look to win the event for the first time against Team Europe in Boston.
Team Europe will be without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, but they still boast four of the world’s top five players in their six-man line-up. Team World have called on Canadian duo Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime as well as Australian Nick Kyrgios.
While there might not be as much star power at the event as in previous years, there are still plenty of reasons to look forward to the Laver Cup, which starts on Friday, live on Eurosport…
For almost all of the season, tennis is an entirely individual sport. Players compete at Grand Slams, Masters 1000 events, the ATP Finals, and other tournaments around the world, but on their own, trying to beat the other person, who is also on their own, on the other side of the net. There are only a few occasions each season where things are different: the ATP Cup, the Davis Cup, and the Laver Cup.
All three give a new perspective on players as they compete for their countries or their teams, and cheer on their team-mates, who are usually their rivals.
'Don't be scared!' - Federer coaches Tsitsipas at Laver Cup 2019
“I feel like it’s a different eye, different view of this sport we are used to playing individually,” says Stefanos Tsitsipas ahead of his second Laver Cup. “It kind of gives it a new perspective and a fresh, kind of like an evolution, I will call it”.
You will see players jumping up and down in celebration, cheering on their team-mates, fist-bumping, chest-bumping, and much more. Even coaches John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg will get involved.
Plus there's the chance to hear the players talking to each other and offering advice during matches. In 2019 we got to listen in as Nadal told Federer what he was seeing in his match against Kyrgios and the pair dissected things together. It was a fascinating insight and the kind of thing you don't get to see for the rest of the year.
Kyrgios’ box-office appeal
Kyrgios is box office wherever he plays, but especially in the Laver Cup.
The Australian’s charismatic personality gels perfectly with the Ryder Cup-style format and he will be one of the biggest cheerleaders for Team World on the sideline.
Nick Kyrgios at the Laver Cup
Image credit: Eurosport
Kyrgios will also bring the heat on the court, and there are a couple of potential match-ups worth looking out for: Kyrgios v Tsitsipas and Kyrgios v Ruud.
Kyrgios and Tsitsipas have had a few seemingly light-hearted exchanges on social media and the Australian chipped in at the US Open with his thoughts on #bathroomgate. The beef between Kyrgios and Ruud goes back further. In 2019 Kyrgios was defaulted in a match against Ruud, who called him an “idiot” in an interview given later that year. The spat has come up again this summer after Kyrgios took shots at players entering post-Wimbledon tournaments, which were being dominated by Ruud.
Things could get heated if Kyrgios gets drawn against either.
Laver Cup flashback: Team Europe celebrate wildly with Champagne in 2019
Will ‘massive’ home advantage help Team World?
Team World have not had much success so far in the Laver Cup, losing all three editions of the tournament. However, they have been getting closer to their first win, losing 15-9 in 2017, 13-8 in 2018 and 13-11 in 2019.
The most recent Laver Cup went to the wire with Team World leading 11-10 going into the final match, but losing after Alexander Zverev beat Milos Raonic in a super-tiebreaker.
With no Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, will this be the year that Team World break their duck? And will playing at TD Garden in Boston be a factor?
“We are going to have a massive home advantage,” said Kyrgios.
“I am very excited. Boston is a big one for me. I have never been here before and it’s the home of the Boston Celtics [basketball team] so I am really looking forward to coming here and putting on a show and hopefully this time getting Team World over the line.”
Medvedev back in action
Two weeks after winning his first Grand Slam title, Daniil Medvedev will make his return to action at the Laver Cup.
The Russian hasn’t played in the competition before but should be a welcome addition given the way he has interacted with crowds in the past. What sort of form he is remains to be seen. Speaking after his US Open victory over Djokovic he said that he planned to enjoy himself for a few days before thinking about tennis again.
“Russians know how to celebrate. Hopefully, I will not get in the news. If I do, it’s going to be in a good way. But I’m going to definitely celebrate the next few days.”
If Medvedev is on top form he will prove an able replacement for Federer, Nadal or Djokovic.
'Looking very sharp!' - Federer helps Nadal with his suit at Laver Cup in 2019
Crowd will bring the noise
Just because this is the first Laver Cup to not feature Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, do not expect it be any less raucous than before.
The event is set to be at near-full capacity over all five sessions, with 20,000 fans likely to be very vocal in their backing for Team World, particularly with two Americans and two Canadians on the team, and the Ryder Cup taking place on the same weekend.
Federer said in 2019 that the crowd in Geneva for the Laver Cup was one of the loudest he had ever experienced.
“Today was extremely loud. I don't recall that on the tour ever being almost this loud. I think it helps to be indoors, sure…I remember Bogota, when I played an exo [exhibition] in Colombia, when I walked on court, I was scared. So this reminded me of this. Those were maybe my two loudest moments, and one I had today.”
Boston has baseball (Red Sox), ice hockey (Bruins), basketball (Celtics) and American football (New England Patriots), but it hasn't had tennis stars visit for quite a while. Expect TD Garden to be very loud for the occasion.