As expected, Team Europe won a third consecutive Laver Cup but it came down to the wire as Team World battled hard over the course of a drama-filled weekend.
With all but one of Europe’s players ranked inside the top-10 and just one of World’s squad in the top-20, few gave John McEnroe’s side a hope of picking up a first title in the team competition but a dramatic fightback from 7-3 down saw them move within one win of a maiden victory.
However, Team Europe – captained by Bjorn Borg – stepped up to the plate when they needed to win back-to-back matches to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and Alexander Zverev won the vital rubber in a 10-point championship tiebreak over Milos Raonic.
Laver Cup scores
Friday (matches worth one point)
Thiem (Europe) 6-4 5-7 13-11 Shapovalov (World)
Sock (World) 6-1 7-6 (7-3) Fognini (Europe)
Tsitsipas (Europe) 6-2 1-6 10-7 Fritz (World)
Federer/Zverev (Europe) 6-3 7-5 Sock/Shapovalov (World)
Saturday (matches worth two points)
Isner 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 10-1 Zverev (Europe)
Federer (Europe) 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 10-7 Kyrgios (World)
Nadal (Europe) 6-3 7-6 (7-1) Raonic (World)
Kyrgios/Sock (World) 6-4 3-6 10-3 Nadal/Tsitsipas (Europe)
Sunday (matches worth three points)
Isner/Sock (World) 5-7 6-4 10-8 Federer/Tsitsipas (Europe)
Fritz (World) 7-5 6-7 (3-7) 10-5 Thiem (Europe)
Federer (Europe) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) Isner (World)
Zverev (Europe) 6-4 3-6 10-4 Raonic (World)
It was a particularly special moment for Federer, who had brought the competition which is so dear to his heart to his home country, and he was delighted to get over the line in Geneva.
‘It’s a big moment, what a weekend it’s been,’ Federer said after the victory.
‘The idea of the concept was trying to bring tennis to the people, make it fun, make it a weekend maybe which is unforgettable and just something very special. I felt it was.
‘I can’t thank the city of Geneva enough and all the players who fought their hearts out, it’s been absolutely incredible. Congratulations Team World for an unbelievable fight. Can’t wait for the next one in Boston.
‘So many emotions, it’s been an unbelievable rollercoaster. Bjorn, you’ve been a great captain.
‘This concludes a dream weekend for me to be playing in Switzerland so I can just tell you thank you for all the noise you’ve made, I’ve loved every moment.’
It certainly delivered as a spectacle, with some terrific tennis played among the world’s elite.
The biggest selling point, however, remains the interaction between the biggest stars of the sport on the team benches by the side of the court.
Rafael Nadal – who was forced to pull out of two scheduled matches on Sunday due to a wrist problem – is particularly animated.
Nadal and Federer were the clear leaders of the team and the Spaniard enjoys teaming up with his great rival.
‘I think it’s very easy [putting their rivalry to one side],’ Nadal told Amazon Prime. ‘At the end of the day we have our age. We’re not 20s anymore, we appreciate each other.
‘We understand all the things that we make together during all these very long careers we’re having so we really enjoy being part of this great atmosphere in the Laver Cup. It’s great to have him on the team. Great team spirit, I think.
‘It’s been a very emotional weekend. To be part of this great team. I wake up today the hand was with big inflammation so there was no chance I could play.
‘I think I need some rest and I’ll take some days off I think with family and friends. Now is time to enjoy this victory, for me it has been an amazing month-and-a-half. After New York I was just fully destroyed for a week and then I came here.’
Borg added: ‘It’s been three exhausting days, for me sitting on the bench watching these guys. Team World came once again very close but we won the right points and maybe had a bit of luck. I’m very proud of my team. What can I say? Thank you Geneva!’
McEnroe, meanwhile, is sick of the sight of Team Europe and joked: ‘I’m getting very sick and tired of you, I’ve gotta say.’