How to watch the Laver Cup – full schedule for Roger Federer’s farewell event
The globetrotting event that is the Laver Cup heads to the UK for its annual stop this weekend, with Roger Federer stealing the headlines before it has even started.
After editions in Prague, Chicago, Geneva and Boston, the fifth Laver Cup will be held at London’s O2 Arena from 23-25 September.
It will also be Federer’s last tournament, with the 41-year-old confirming his retirement last week after several knee surgeries dashed his hopes of a proper comeback on the ATP Tour.
“I’m not satisfied, but I’m happy with the decision, because it’s the right one,” Federer said.
“I thought about it. I have had a lot of time to let it sit. I mean, it’s been a few months now, it has been rather stressful not having it leak out and I was more worried about everybody around me who knew about it, who was getting asked every single day, ‘How is Roger, how is Roger’s knee, and when is he coming back?’ They all very well knew what the situation was.
“I’m sorry for them that they had to go through this. So I think we are all relieved at this point it’s out.”
Federer has teased the prospect of playing his last-ever match, which will be the doubles on Friday night, with old rival Rafael Nadal.
When asked if the pairing appealed to him, Federer replied: “Of course. No doubt. I think it could be quite a unique situation if it were to happen.
“For as long as we battled together, we always had this respect for one another, the families, our coaching teams, we always got along really well.
“For us as well to go through a career that we both have had and to come out on the other side and be able to have a nice relationship, I think it is maybe a great message not just for tennis but sports and maybe even beyond.
“For that reason I think it would be great. I don’t know if it’s gonna happen, but I think it could be obviously a special moment.”
Federer and Nadal are in good company, with Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic also part of Team Europe – who have won all four Laver Cups to date – as well as Stefanos Tsitsipas and recent US Open finalist Casper Ruud.
That is the blue corner, captained by 11-time grand slam winner Bjorn Borg, and in the red corner Borg’s slightly louder rival John McEnroe is the Team World captain, with Taylor Fritz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Diego Schwartzman, Frances Tiafoe, Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock playing under his watch.
With Team Europe boasting four top-10 players to Team World’s zero, it makes for a potentially one-sided tournament again, with Europe having won 14-1 last year.
Nevertheless, given no ATP points are on offer, what is essentially an exhibition tournament will boast a carnival atmosphere given it is Federer’s finale, while the shackles are also off the players after a stressful year on tour.
Expect tricks, tweeners, and for Federer at least, perhaps some tears too.