Kolkata: Tennis legend and current world number 9, Roger Federer beat the Spaniard, Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open at the start of 2017 in what was the latest episode in a rivalry that’s spanned more than a decade. But rather than being across the net from the world No. 6, Federer is keen to team up with the 14-time Grand Slam champion in what is to be the inaugural Laver Cup.
Federer expressed his wish at the launch of the new tournament, which will see Bjorn Borg’s European team take on John McEnroe’s Rest of the World side in September. “I’ve always wanted to play with Rafa, just because our rivalry has been so special,” Federer said at the launch. “I’ve seen his wicked forehand go past me too often” he added.
The Laver Cup, is a Ryder Cup (Golf) style event, named after tennis legend Rod Laver, where six top European players will take on the Rest of the World. The tournament is set to take place between September 22 and 24 in Prague. The top four players from Europe and from the rest of the world will automatically qualify for the event, with the captains of each team allowed two wildcard picks.
The Laver Cup will be held annually except in an Olympic year, with four matches each day – three in singles and one in doubles.
Federer refused to see Team Europe as a clear winner, even though it currently has 17 players in the top 20 of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings. “I think Team Europe are going to be big favourites but because of the setup of the Laver Cup I think the margins are always going to be very slim,” said Federer.
It would be interesting to observe how Nadal reacts to Federer’s wish though. But if at all they team up, it will go down the pages of the history books.
(With inputs from PTI)