Mag By Craig Gabriel
THE LAVER CUP HAS A LEGACY
The dust from the Laver Cup has settled and there is a legacy from the event.
It was an incredibly successful event that host in excess of 93,000 people across the three days of play and an atmosphere of brilliant proportions was experienced each day. Still there were those who chose to try and denigrate the event as an exhibition and as it was not an official event on the men’s tour, it apparently did not mean anything.
Anyone who entertained or entertains that mindset had not visited the Laver Cup and had not experienced that amazing atmosphere nor heard what the players had to say. Okay the sceptics can respond with “well they were paid to be there so of course they are going to say nice things”. That is an easy cop out. These are tennis players, actors they are not, not even close to it.
Leave Roger Federer aside, he has a vested interest in the Laver Cup but does one think the likes of Novak Djokovic or the most out-spoken of tennis players, John McEnroe, are going to say nice things for the sake of it?
When asked about the level of seriousness of the Laver Cup, John Isner was pretty blunt: “Honestly, that question really annoys me. 100% serious. This is not an exhibition at all. At all. 100%.”
John McEnroe made it clear that he feels the Laver Cup is “the most innovative and exciting thing that happened in ten years in tennis”.
Mr. McEnroe added: “I have been around this sport for 40 years, and I'd be tough to come up with something that was better than what they did.
“I'm hopeful that what they won't do in tennis is end up with sort of all these different factions, and then it ends up, instead of helping the sport, they hurt the sport ultimately because they are separate and no one can come together and do what's best for the sport.
“So I'm hopeful. I'm on the ATP advisory board committee. I try to, you know, for what it's worth, give advice what I think. Hopefully I've gotten a better relationship over the years with the majors and they see that, you know, I love this sport and I'm here for the rest of my life trying to, you know, do things and be part of something that would be beneficial.
“I'm happy to be here. My idol was Rod Laver. I'm around the greatest players in the world. I'd like to see this succeed, but it's not like I'm part owner of it. I don't have any ownership stake in this. I really believe this would be something tremendous for the sport.”
Despite the fact that this event doesn't have the history of the Davis Cup, doesn't have any ranking points and the stats are not going to the Hall of Fame, the Laver Cup has proven to be electric in its first two year and Chicago took thing up another level compared to Prague last year.
“I just hope we don't screw this up in our sport,” Mr. McEnroe said. “This is, like, a huge win, I think. I think we saw that. We weren't quite sure this year. But this was just absolutely awesome again. The crowds were amazing. The energy was great. The tennis, the level was so high.
“I can't see how people can't think that this is a great thing for tennis. I mean, I really don't. I obviously I love playing Davis Cup and playing for my country, and they are trying to figure out what to do with that, and then there is this other event. But they've got to come together. For once in my 40-year history in tennis, they have got to come together and try and figure out how to improve this sport.
“To me, I have been around for a long time, and if they think this isn't good for the sport, they're out of their heads.”
The Laver Cup has developed a legacy and that legacy has been to bring players together. Where at any other tournament or event will younger players ever have the chance to be alongside legends like Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Nowhere. Where would players form various nations come together to get to know their rivals better and be able to spend quality time with them. Nowhere. The Laver Cup has achieved that.
“You cannot imagine how, for me, how good it is to spend time with legends and activities, future legends, just amazing feeling,” David Goffin said. “Of course we won the trophy, but I think I won more than the trophy this week. It's a great experience for me. I hope I will continue with that memories and I will fight to be in the team next year.”
That’s what the Laver Cup is about.