What is the Laver Cup?

Inaugurated in 2017, the Laver Cup is an international hard court tennis competition, staged annually over three days in September – two weeks after the conclusion of the US Open – and contested by teams comprising six of the leading male players from Europe and six from the rest of the world. The competition is named in honour of Australian former tennis player Rodney George ‘Rod’ Laver who, in 1969, became the first man in history to complete a calendar Grand Slam twice, having previously done so in 1962.

Qualification for the Laver Cup, at least in the case of the first three players on each team, is based on Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) singles rankings immediately after the French Open in June. Three lower-ranked players, known as ‘captain’s picks’, are recruited by the captain of each team and announced before the start of the US Open, on the last Monday in August. In all five editions of the Laver Cup, so far, Bjorn Borg has captained Team Europe and John McEnroe has captained Team World.

The Laver Cup consists of twelve matches – nine singles matches and three doubles matches – played over five sessions on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Matches are worth a single point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday, such that the result cannot be decided until Sunday. All matches are the best-of-three sets but, if a match is tied at one set all, the result is decided by a ten-point ‘match tiebreak’, which allows matches to be completed in a timely fashion.

As an incentive for higher-ranked players to participate, each player receives an appearance fee commensurate with his ATP ranking. Above and beyond that, each player on the winning team receives $250,000 in prize money, while each player on the losing team receives $125,000. Location-wise, the Laver Cup alternates between cities in Europe and cities in the rest of the world; the 2023 edition is scheduled for Vancouver, Canada.

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