Former US Open champion Marin Cilic will open for Team Europe against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe when the inaugural Laver Cup gets underway at the O2 Arena in Prague on Friday, September 22.
In a first-ever reveal of players for a teams event on the world tennis stage, captains Bjorn Borg (Europe) and John McEnroe (World) declared their player lineups for day one.
The second singles match will pit world No. 7 Dominic Thiem for Europe against American John Isner.
The night session, starting at 7pm, will feature an intriguing battle against rising stars Alexander Zverev (Europe) and Canadian Denis Shapovalov (World).
In a surprising twist, world No.1 Rafael Nadal will partner local hero Tomas Berdych against Australian Nick Kyrgios and Wimbledon doubles champion Jack Sock in what promises to be a blockbuster finish to the first day’s action.
The captains submitted their lineup on the newly installed black center court at the O2 in a special ceremony witnessed by the referee and flanked by team members. They had no knowledge of which players the opposing side had selected before the reveal.
“I’m ready to get some revenge on this guy,” Shapovalov said of his match against Zverev. “He’s an incredible player so it’s going to be tough, but I’m excited for it.”
Nadal called for crowd support in his doubles match against Sock and Kyrgios, partnering Berdych for the first time.
“We hope to play well – it’ll be the first time that we’ve played together. And here we are, in the hometown of Tomas, so it’s going to be exciting,” the 2017 US Open champion said.
World No.2 Roger Federer will be on the bench for the first day, supporting his Team Europe teammates.
“Friday looks really amazing,” he said. “I can’t wait to start on Saturday as well, but tomorrow I’ll be the big supporter.”
Under the unique format for the three-day competition, the schedule for Saturday and Sunday will be determined each morning when one captain will submit his card blind for the opposing captain to review before selecting his players.
Each match on Friday is worth one point, two points per match are up for grabs on Saturday, and three points for each match on the crucial deciding Sunday
The first team to reach 13 points will win the inaugural Laver Cup, with a thrilling doubles decider played if the scores are tied at 12-all.