Juan Martin del Potro and Denis Shapovalov will add powerful x-factor as they line up for Team World for the inaugural Laver Cup.
Captain’s picks del Potro and Shapovalov join Milos Raonic, John Isner, Jack Sock and Sam Querrey for Team World at the O2 arena, Czech Republic from September 22-24, 2017.
Team World captain John McEnroe is thrilled with the unique ability that each man brings to his team.
“I’m very excited that Juan Martin del Potro and Denis Shapovalov will be part of Team World to compete for the first Laver Cup,” McEnroe said.
“We all know that we face a tremendous opposition in Team Europe but I believe our players will prove that our team is up for the challenge.
Del Potro became the first man to defeat Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at a single Grand Slam as he claimed the US Open as a 20-year-old in 2009. Peaking at world No.4 the following year, del Potro has more recently cemented his fan favourite status in a stirring comeback from a series of wrist injuries.
Ranked outside the top 1000 in February 2016, the 28-year-old Argentine returned to the top 40 after winning his first title for 33 months in Stockholm last October. Del Potro also upset Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal as a silver medalist at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and played a starring role as Argentina claimed its first-ever Davis Cup.
“I have had some of the best moments of my career as part of a team so of course I’m very grateful to be a part of Team World for the Laver Cup,” said del Potro, who is currently ranked No.28.
“We have never had an event like this in tennis. It will be very special to join players that you normally compete against.”
McEnroe added that with wins over almost every opponent he could face in Prague, del Potro is among the most dangerous competitors on his team.
“Almost every player on Team Europe has experienced the heat of Juan Martin’s huge forehand and power game. Regardless of his current ranking, he will be a tough player to beat.”
Signaling his potential by winning the boys’ singles title at Wimbledon in 2016, Shapovalov made a stunning breakthrough at the recent Montreal Masters stunning del Potro and Rafael Nadal to reach the semifinals.
Still just 18 years old, Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the final four of an ATP Masters event, surging from outside the top 140 to his current ranking of No.69.
He relishes the opportunity to add another milestone to his burgeoning career in Prague.
“It’s been a huge year for me and John McEnroe’s invitation to join Team World at the Laver Cup really tops it off,” said Shapovalov. “To compete against legends like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is a rare opportunity.
“I can’t wait to travel to Prague for this new team event. I won’t be taking any of it for granted.”
McEnroe believes that the teenager’s ability to embrace such big occasions sets him apart.
“Denis Shapovalov has shown that he competes very well under the pressure of big matches. His youthful energy and aggressive style of play wll be a great addition to our team at the Laver Cup.”