Retired tennis legend Roger Federer, who helped Europe win three Laver Cups, hinted he might one day want to take on the captaincy at the team event.
The 42-year-old Swiss star will be the subject of a tribute Friday at Rogers Arena to celebrate the first anniversary of his final match in doubles alongside Rafael Nadal at the 2022 Laver Cup in London.
The World Team, with John McEnroe as captain, will try to defend the trophy it first captured last year when the sixth Laver Cup begins Friday at Rogers Arena.
“There’s something in me that’s Team Europe,” Federer said. “I’m happy if World wins, don’t get me wrong, but somehow, I can feel it deep inside -- I want Europe to win.
“I like being in the tennis sphere. Maybe one day, I’ll be the captain of the team. There’s no plans as of now, but I think that could be quite nice.”
Bjorn Borg serves as Team Europe captain as a new generation of talent replaces Federer, Nadal and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
“Seeing the camaraderie, people from different countries coming together in a team, like me and Rafa or me and Novak, has been wonderful,” Federer said.
“Seeing the fun and the joy that Borg and McEnroe have brought to the teams but also how much they enjoy their roles has been great.”
Seeing rare doubles duos is a big part of the event for Federer.
“I get very excited about Laver Cup doubles, because there are usually teams that we haven’t seen,” Federer said. “I just like superstar combinations.”
An American-dominated lineup will try to defend the trophy for the World squad.
Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe and Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime return from last year’s global squad, which rallied to beat Europe in London after losing the first four editions of the indoor hardcourt event.
“Winning last year meant a lot to us, even more so because we lost so many times,” Tiafoe said.
Eighth-ranked Fritz, number 11 Tiafoe and 14th-ranked Auger-Aliassime are joined by Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo, Ben Shelton, the youngest on the team at 20, and fellow American Tommy Paul, the eldest of captain John McEnroe’s players at 26.
Team Europe’s highest-ranked players were Denmark’s fourth-rated Holger Rune and Greece’s fifth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas but both withdrew from Borg’s side due to injuries.
That leaves sixth-ranked Andrey Rublev and Norway’s ninth-ranked Casper Ruud as the veterans of a Europe squad that also includes Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, French youngster Arthur Fils, veteran Gael Monfils and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
‘Not huge underdogs’
“It feels like the first time when we’re not the huge underdog going in,” US vice-captain Patrick McEnroe said.
“It adds a little different wrinkle this time that both teams go in thinking OK it’s not completely one-sided when you look at the rankings.”
The latest match-up in Vancouver features three singles matches and a doubles match on Friday and Saturday with wins on day one worth one point and triumphs on day two worth two points.
Victories on Sunday are worth three points with a doubles match followed by as many singles matches as needed to decide a champion. The first team to 13 total points takes the trophy.
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