Rod Laver was joined by Roger Federer, John McEnroe, Marin Cilic, Tomas Berdych and Denis Shapovalov in the heart of New York City today to announce the captain’s picks for the inaugural Laver Cup and preview the upcoming tournament.
Alexander Zverev, the world No.7 becomes the fifth top-10 player for Team Europe, joining Rafael Nadal, Federer, Cilic and Dominic Thiem. Berdych will also represent the European team at the O2 arena in Prague, Czech Republic from September 22-24 2017.
Juan Martin del Potro and Denis Shapovalov were confirmed as the captain’s picks John McEnroe’s Team World.
“The last member of Team Europe is going to be picked by Björn Borg as a captain’s pick is going to be Alexander Zverev,” Federer announced during the media conference at the JPMorgan Chase center.
“He’s had a wonderful year. It’s great news. We were very excited when we heard it.
“I think he’s going to be one of the great players for the next 10 years in our game, a great sport, and I’m sure he’s going to be a great team player, as well.”
Team World’s captain John McEnroe said he was not ‘turning up to Prague to lose,’ and was excited to welcome Shapovalov and Del Potro into his team.
“I think this young man is going to be a great, great player in the future,” McEnroe said of Shapovalov. “He’s a Canadian, but we won’t hold that against him. He’s also a left-hander, like Mr. Rod Laver and myself.”
McEnroe described Del Potro as a “tremendous young man, a little bit older and a veteran and a winner.”
Shapovalov is competing in the qualifying event of the US Open and joined the event in New York on his day off.
“It’s truly an honor to be sitting with past champions and present champions like yourselves, and, you know, I’m very happy to be here with all you guys.”
Federer, winner of 19 majors and two this year (the Australian Open and Wimbledon), said he could not wait to join with Rafael Nadal on Team Europe less than 30 days away.
“I get a chance to actually support his forehand, his aggressive play, his everything, his fighting spirit,” noted Federer.
“For us to spend sort of a week together on the same team and, you know, exchanging ideas of how we could win the Laver Cup over the weekend, I think it’s going to be really highly entertaining for both of us.”
Players and captains alike paid tribute to Rod Laver, winner of the Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969, who the Laver Cup is named after.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to have this event being part of today’s world,” he said today.
McEnroe described Laver as his idol growing up and the perfect choice to be honored at this new event.
“We are looking to do something big here along the lines of the Ryder Cup in golf, and I think this is a magnificent way to try to get this going. It couldn’t be a better man to represent what we are trying to do here.”