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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday September 26, 2021

 
Team Europe

Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev defeated Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov in a match tiebreak to lock up Team Europe's fourth consecutive Laver Cup crown.

Photo Source: Getty

Once again, Team World put on a brave performance and threatened to mount a comeback against Team World at Laver Cup on Sunday at TD Garden in Boston. Once again, it wasn’t meant to be.

Tennis Express

Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev came through in a match tiebreak, winning 6-2, 6-7(4), 10-3 to lock down Team Europe’s fourth successive Laver Cup crown.

For the fifth time in six “Laver breakers” Team Europe delivered its strongest punches last and that is how the star-studded squad came away with the most lopsided Laver Cup victory in history.

14-1. But in reality it was much closer than the scoreline suggests.

“Obviously a lot of matches went to the champion’s breaker and a lot of matches could have gone both ways,” Zverev said on court after his team locked up the title. “We won most of those matches. At the end of the day the score says 14-1 but it could have gone both ways a lot of the times. I think we’re all extremely happy, we had a lot of hard work for this victory throughout the whole week.”


Over the course of the weekend, fans have showed rousing support for the competition, packing the storied TD Garden in Boston, which is also home to the Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics, and showing support for underdog Team World even as the scoreline kept breaking against them.

Though it will be short on drama at the finish (dead rubbers will be played), the fourth edition of Laver Cup, and the second in the United States, has taken a strong step in demonstrating staying power. Played without Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, and featuring just one active Grand Slam singles champion – Daniil Medvedev – this edition of the completion was about evolution and staying connected with tennis fans.

It didn’t hurt that Federer, a backer of the event through his management company, Team 8, was in attendance to delight fans and players. He's invested in the event, his legions of fans are invested in him, and that has a very important effect on the turnout for Laver Cup.

Once again, the Laver Cup accomplished what it has always set out to do: Connect generations and highlight the heroes of the sports’ storied past, making it an intergenerational mingle that seems to be here to stay.

With Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe lending their star power along with Federer, how could it not work?


Pundits will criticize the fact that Team Europe is clearly in another class compared to Team World, saying that to create a compelling competition, the event will somehow need to be more competitive. They could be right, but perhaps one aspect that works for the competition is that it does highlight European domination of men’s tennis and demonstrate just how far the rest of the world needs to come to compete.

Perhaps in future years a real rivalry can develop? Maybe it’s best to leave the original format where it is. Let Team World stew in their underdog status and try to elevate their game for the fifth edition, to be held next year at London’s O2 Arena.

For now, as the champagne is poured in Team Europe’s locker room, there is a feeling that the Laver Cup has passed a significant test in 2021. It wasn’t a competitive competition on the court, but it was a compelling one in more ways than one. Huge crowds showed up and created one of the best tennis atmospheres of the 2021 tennis season, and there is a lot to be said for that.

Imagine what will happen when Team World starts to hold up its end of the bargain?

 

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