Laver Cup: Milos Raonic to lead Team World
Canadian Raonic will lead World against the likes of Federer & Nadal of Europe. (Image: The National)
Canada’s Milos Raonic will lead Team World into battle against Europe at the inaugural Laver Cup, which will be staged in Prague from 22-24 September 2017.
Raonic, world No.6, is the first player named in Team World, with further announcements on the make-up of the team expected over the coming months. Players will officially qualify via their post-Wimbledon rankings, and the teams will be finalised following the US Open in September.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are already confirmed to play for Team Europe, with Tomas Berdych committing to play if qualified or selected.
“I can’t wait to be part of the first ever Laver Cup – it’s a tremendous opportunity and I’m really looking forward to being part of this unique team competition,” Raonic said.
“I already have a close relationship with (Team World captain) John McEnroe and it will be great to have him sitting out there on court, encouraging and supporting me, and I’m sure he’ll help bring out the best in my game.
“Taking on the Europeans is no easy task – they’ve already got Roger and Rafa on board and we’ve all seen how well they’ve started 2017.
McEnroe worked with Raonic during his charge to the Wimbledon final last year, when he defeated Federer in the semis, and is delighted to have him represent Team World at the Laver Cup.
“Milos is incredibly impressive, both as a player and a person, and I’m very pleased he’s committed to playing the Laver Cup in September,” McEnroe said.
“I’m looking forward to working with him again – he’s a total professional, very dedicated and does everything he can to be as good as he can be.
“We know Team Europe is incredibly strong on paper, and that Roger and Rafa have both had an unbelievable start to the year. But we are putting together a bunch of players who I have no doubt will be the next generation of Grand Slam winners, and Milos is definitely up there as a contender.
“I’m looking forward to helping bring out the best in him and the rest of Team World, and am convinced we can defeat Team Europe in this exciting new competition,” McEnroe continued.
Federer and Nadal will represent Europe as part of a six-man team to be captained by 11-time Grand Slam champion Björn Borg, competing against Team World led by seven-time Grand Slam champion McEnroe.
The Laver Cup will be played on one court over three days at the O2 arena in Prague, Czech Republic, in September 2017, with an entertaining mixture of singles and doubles matches.
LAVER CUP FAST FACTS
- The Laver Cup is a three-day tournament pitting a team of the six best tennis players from Europe against six of their counterparts from the rest of the world
- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have both committed to represent Team Europe in the Laver Cup, and Czech world No.13 Tomas Berdych has confirmed his availability dependent on qualifying
- World No.6 Milos Raonic from Canada has committed to represent Team World
- For the first three years, Björn Borg will captain Team Europe and John McEnroe will lead Team World
- The tournament has been named in honour of Australian tennis legend and the greatest player of all time, Rod Laver, the only man to win two calendar-year Grand Slams
- The unique format will showcase tennis superstars competing on the same team, pairing up in doubles and cheering each other from the sidelines
- The first Laver Cup will be held at the O2 arena Prague, Czech Republic, from 22-24 September 2017
- The location will rotate between major cities in Europe and the rest of the world each year
- The 2018 edition of the Laver Cup will take place in the United States
- The Laver Cup will be staged annually two weeks after the US Open, except in summer Olympic years.
The Laver Cup has already set a record at the O2 arena in Prague, with the demand for tickets almost four times higher than the biggest event previously staged at the venue. Available tickets sold out within hours across 45 countries, and as far afield as Australia, Canada, United States, South Africa, Philippines, New Zealand and Japan, along with many European nations.
The tournament is named in honour of Australian great Rod Laver, whose achievements in winning the calendar Grand Slam twice (both as an amateur and a professional) have set a benchmark for excellence in world tennis. The Laver Cup is a joint initiative between TEAM8, Tennis Australia, the USTA and Jorge Paulo Lemann.