The Laver Cup 2019 was the third edition of the tournament meant to be tennis’ answer to the Ryder Cup of golf. The tournament, championed by Roger Federer, had already captured fan interest the world over. And the 2019 edition saw it officially become an ATP Tour event for the first time.
The three-day tournament that features both singles and doubles encounters entered the final day with all to play for. In the end, it was Team Europe who walked away with the trophy. Having said that, it was anything but an easy win for the team.
With two years having passed since the event, let us look back at how the final day unfolded.
The format of the Laver Cup is simple: each win sees the team get a certain number of points. The first team to 13 points is declared the winner.
However, the manner in which points are awarded ensures the contest does indeed go into the final day. Therefore, there are no dead rubbers potentially till the last day.
Each day has four matches – three singles and one doubles. Day 1 sees the winner get one point, Day 2 increases that to two points. Day 3 sees winners get three points each.
In this year’s edition of the tournament, Team Europe had dominated pretty much every single day. They ended Day 1 with a 3-1 lead, their soul loss coming when Fabio Fognini lost to Jack Sock.
The second day was more evenly split. John Isner and the doubles team of Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock earned Team World four points. However, Team Europe won the same number of points thanks to wins from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Thus, going into the final day, they held a 7-5 lead. But the winners were anything but decided at this point and there was everything to play for on the final day.
Team World started the day on a positive note. The first encounter of the day saw Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas team up to take on John Isner and Jack Sock.
Federer and Tsitsipas won the first set 7-5, but dropped the second set 6-4. Thus, the match went into a tie-break to decide the winner.
The American duo of Isner and Sock would go on to win the tie-break 10-8, meaning they took 3 points for Team World. They now led 8-7 on standings.
Things became even better after the first singles match of the day. Dominic Thiem took on American Taylor Fritz, knowing that a loss could see Team Europe plunge closer to defeat in the tournament.
Thiem would win a tight first set 7-5, but lost the second when it went to a tie-breaker. Another tie-breaker ensued to decide the winner of the match.
Fritz, riding the wave of momentum, would go on to win this tie-breaker too. Now Team World were really in the driver’s seat. They lead 11-7 and only needed one win to seal the tournament.
Yet that one win would never arrive. Federer returned to court for a single’s match against Isner, and beat the American in straight sets, although the second set went into a tie-breaker.
The most drama, however, was reserved for the final match between Alexander Zverev and Milos Raonic. Zverev won the first set 6-4 and dropped the second set 6-3. Another deciding tie-breaker was needed.
It was Zverev who won out, taking the tie-break 10-4 and ensuring Team Europe won the Laver Cup 2019.
The 2020 edition of the tournament did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the last edition of the tournament has not aged well at all.
The main reason for this is not the tennis action – which was of a high quality and had fans enthralled. But rather due to domestic abuse allegations against Zverev from his ex-girlfriend Olga Sharypova.
The reason the tournament is involved is due to the fact that Zverev was allegedly abusive to her while in the hotel during this tournament. Sharypova’s numerous recollections of abuse include substantial stories which took place during the Laver Cup 2019.
For his part, Zverev has denied all allegations. But fans have not forgotten, and there was an outroar when the tournament’s Twitter handle used quotes from the German to promote the 2021 edition.