Europe to face Rest of the World in new Ryder Cup-style Laver event

Roger Federer's TEAM8 management company on Friday took the lead from golf's Ryder Cup in announcing the 2017 start of the Laver Cup, a Europe versus Rest of the World competition to be held after the US Open.

The presentation of the annual competition - which won't be played in Olympic years - was attended by Rod Laver himself, long an idol of Federer at a conference held in the Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open.

Laver, 77, stands as the only player in history to twice win a calendar year grand slam, the last in 1969. He has 11 major titles over his career and has served as an inspiration for Federer, who owns a record 17 grand slam trophies.

Captains for the first edition of the three-day event in 20 months will be announced later, with the first set likely to be chosen by Laver himself.

"I am deeply honored that (organisers)  have seen fit to give my name to this wonderful new development in tennis," Laver said.

"I can see this becoming a very important part of the experience of being a top global player, with the world's best longing to earn the right to participate and thriving in this style of competition.

"It's so good to see the sport of tennis finally develop a proper counterpart event to the Ryder Cup. It will be fantastic for both players and fans, and it's a crowning privilege for me to be associated with this new competition."

Teams will comprise of six players for singles and doubles. Four would be chosen by their ATP rankings while captains would have a pair of wild card choices to fill out the roster.

Competition, which would move to venues around the world, is set to include three singles matches and a doubles encounter each day.

"Rod Laver is someone I've always thought was very inspiring," Federer told The New York Times. "It's important to leave a legacy for the legends, and Rod Laver to me stands out because of his achievements and his character and everything.

"That's when the idea came of the Laver Cup, to name a cup after him and to also have captains which then lead a team of today's players.

"I think it could be really, really interesting, to be quite honest. But it needs to be played full-out, give everything you have. It has to be that way, otherwise it's going to be some exhibition that could be played anywhere in the world."

Federer's business partner Tony Godsick will serve as CEO of the competition.

Tony Godsick, President and CEO of TEAM8, said the event would introduce a new style of team competition to the sport and immortalize a tennis icon, adding the idea had been in the works for some time.

"Two years ago Roger challenged me and my partners at TEAM8 to dream big and conceive of a new event that would honor Mr Laver and elevate the sport we all love," Godsick said.

"It seemed clear to us there was an opportunity to create a tennis competition in the spirit of golf's great global team events with the very best players in the world - intense rivals for 51 weeks of the year - playing not for themselves but for their countries and regions, and very much for their teammates.

"We have all seen the incredible passion and emotion this can generate among players and fans alike, and our dream is to ignite a very special tradition in tennis that will live and grow for many years to come."

Last update: Fri, 29/01/2016 - 12:02
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