Laver Cup 2021 Starts With Bang

AP/John Minchillo, file

Laver Cup 2021 Starts With Bang

Team Europe and Team World will face off for global bragging rights at the Laver Cup this weekend.

Boston will be hosting the best of the best as Team World tries to break their losing streak against Team Europe. It will be tough again for Team World because of the depth of Team Europe. Although Team Europe will be without the big three, Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic, they still count on six of the world’s top 10 players. Specifically, Team Europe counts on four of the current top five players in the world, Daniil Medvedev (#2), Stefanos Tsitsipas (#3), Alexander Zverev (#4), and Andrey Rublev (#5).

No team member of Team World is in the top 10. Their highest-ranked player will be Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked #11 in the world. Denis Shapovalov follows at #12 and then Diego Schwartzman at #15. Team World also brings height to the game, with three of the biggest servers in the game, Opelka, Isner, and Kyrgios.

Although on paper this seems like a potential blowout from Team World, it shouldn’t be that easy. Players like Kyrgios and Shapovalov have good records against Team Europe players. Also, when you have servers as big as Opelka and Isner on your roster, you can count on them holding serve and taking every set to a tie-break. In this competition, the tie-break is critical. They don’t play a normal two out of three sets. If the sets are split, they go to a 10-point tie-breaker. For players like Opelka and Isner, that 10-point tie-breaker will be music to their ears.

Team world also has one of the best returners in the game in Schwartzman. The diminutive Argentinian, who stands at 5’ 7’’ is third in the ATP in career return games won on all surfaces. Only Nadal and Djokovic fare any better. Finally, Team World boasts talented Auger-Aliassime, who has been knocking on the door of the top for some time now. His semifinal run at the US Open is a testament to his growth and improvement in the last six months. He will certainly be helped by the team format as his teammates will surely rally around him.

That’s not to say Team Europe won’t clean Team World’s clock. It will be tough to beat the Russians. Tsitsipas and Zverev are at the very top of their game as well. Can Team World beat Team Europe? The world will certainly be cheering for them to do so!

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