33 Comments

Laver cup should ideally be played after Wimbledon and before the American hard court season begins. Venue should also be US, so that scheduling fits. Preferably during the clay court tournaments that get played right after Wimbledon which are irrelevant for top players who by then turn their focus on hard courts. And instead of indoors, Laver Cup should then be played on outside courts so that players can aspire to use it formUS open warm up, if for nothing else. IMHO. Scheduling after US open is truly very tight. And Vancouver was a disaster from a travel point of view as well.

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Honestly it doesn’t make sense in its current form. With many tournaments stretching to 2 weeks from next year and urgent need to revive Davis Cup, events like Laver Cup are a distraction. And if it throws more money to players to come participate, it defeats the purpose. Let’s also give our players some rest and focus on existing tour aments and Davis cup that needs our full attention. Else, some players will go and sing and dance there like that incident we had this year which itself showed it is nothing more than an exhibition.

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I found the “ wink” the highlight of LC and loved hearing RF talk about his life now. He doesn’t have to share as much as he does. And I appreciate his generosity of spirit no matter how often I’ve witnessed it. It’s part of him and though I like supporting his legacy this tournament was not compelling. Maybe if I had been there. But was compelled by the last doubles Davis Cup match in Manchester you suggested watching and then by seeing Caroline Dolehide perform well and Maria Sakkari win her 1st 1000. I love cathartic emotions along with my tennis. And the grass roots aspect of Davis Cup does that well. I have found myself invested in players I’ve never heard of before.

It is fascinating though to see how some players respond to the team environment and perform better. FAA as an example. Also John M does seem to bring out the best in some. I feel like he’s still partly on the court.

Thank you for getting me to think about going to Seville!

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Excellent article and insight, Chris. I think the Davis cup and Laver Cup should alternate every other two years, so they can attract the most fervent of Tennis fans. I was delighted to see the emotion of the Americans, though. It would be more fun to watch if more were at stake later in the year.

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Yes Mr C. Getting all of the emails.

Thanks for sorting.

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We attended Laver Cup this year for the first time. We went in with low expectations as we bought our tickets early and so many players had declined or dropped out since then. We left with a positive impression — definitely an intimacy that we enjoyed, and loved the team camaraderie on both sides, although Team Europe was missing a major cheerleader without Rafa & Roger on the sidelines coaching and rooting. We love Bjorn Borg, but were confused by many of his pairings. We felt the folks in our section enjoyed the tennis as well, and the crowd overall was pretty invested in the matches considering the lopsidedness of the scoreboard (which we felt in our area definitely was a point of focus). Prefer the compact time frame with a winner declared at the end to Davis Cup.

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Maybe there are just too many tournaments.

Traditions in sport have to be earned and built up gradually over time and with total public support.

Shovelling advertising sponsorship and golden oldies at an event just doesn't hack it any longer.

The comment about the commentators - not forgetting the 'summarisers', when used - is totally valid.

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I agree with pretty much everything in this column, but I think in these discussions there’s a premise that team competitions work well in tennis and are essential to the sport. The evidence doesn’t support that. The only team competition that has had any meaningful sustained success is Davis Cup, and it has been in decline — no exaggeration — since the 1960s. Despite the occasional epic moment like Manchester, Davis Cup broadly hasn’t worked well since the top players — from Connors and Borg to Nadal and Federer — stopped playing it regularly. We wouldn’t take Slams seriously if the top players skipped half or three-quarters of them. You can’t ask fans to care more than the players. You need greater incentives to get the highest-ranked players there and incentives to ensure they want to win once there. Sure, you can get some fans and TV viewers without the top players being there. Fans attend 250s and 500s and watch on TV, but in smaller numbers. And fans watch those knowing what they are: Important to some players but not as important as 1000s and Slams. If Laver Cup can’t get the best players it will be taken no more seriously than a 250 or 500, which is fine, but raises the question of whether tennis needs another non-essential event in late September.

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Between this piece and the piece last week on the Davis Cup, it's clear that tennis needs to tweak its calendar. (Not that that's a surprise.) It might be a fun article (or two or three) if you presented your ideal schedule of events for an entire year, and where they would fall on the calendar. Maybe not down to every 250 event, but at least the majors, the 1000s, the Tour Finals and the team events. What changes could realistically be made in the calendar? Would you drop or add any events? How would you account for tradition, for player travel, for weather, for spreading the game globally, etc.? And if you were the all-powerful benevolent potentate of tennis and could scrap the whole thing and start from scratch, what would you do?

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I could have gone to watch as Vancouver is only about a four hour drive for me but I didn't bother because of the lack of quality tennis players, and from the little that I saw on tv, that was a wise choice. The tennis was dreadful and the commentary was unlistenable - it was all worshipping Federer. He was a good tennis player in his day but my god, he's not the be-all and end-all that much of the media make him out to be. I don't think Laver Cup is long for this world.

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The Davis Cup has become an afterthought. It needs to be held every two years instead of annually. We tennis fans might actually start watching it again.

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And not for nothing, at least in US, late September is a pretty heavy sports schedule with college football gaining steam, baseball wild card races coming to a conclusion, early NFL action et al…so a lot of traffic on runway

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I have actually attended several Laver Cups, quite a few Davis Cup ties, the inaugural ATP cup and the old Hopman Cup. That's a lot of travelling for a lot of tennis experience in team sports which I enjoy more than tournaments because you don't have the heartbreak of your guy going out in round one and you do get the intense camaraderie of a single cause. Some players are brilliant at team tennis and raise their game. With the greatest respect I doubt that your top blokes would cut it especially in doubles. I've seen wayward sons like Kyrgios and sock do superb things in teams which pure individuals can't do. These Cups are fantastic. They don't need the top blokes. Alcaraz would strangle the team until he learns to work with others. Djokovic is a fun guy in doubles. It's a different breed. Kokkinakis is another team worker. I can give you a short list from those who have not retired this year

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I generally agree with you. I watched a little but not a lot. It seems to have lost pizzazz without the big European stars but that was going to happen eventually. I got a kick out of McEnroe’s comment. It felt good after so many losses. It’s a New York thing.

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