Inside Team World: Team spirit can make the difference
John McEnroe was quick to get on court after arriving in Geneva on Tuesday as Team World set about trying to win the Laver Cup for the first time.
The red team lost out to team Europe in thrilling contests two years ago in Prague, and in Chicago last year.
Captain McEnroe, with his brother Patrick once again alongside him as Vice Captain, is determined to turn his team’s fortunes around.
He cast a watchful eye as Nick Kyrgios practiced on the famous black court, while Milos Raonic and Taylor Fritz also took the chance to have a first hit in the arena.
Among those to arrive in Geneva on Tuesday was Jack Sock, making his third appearance at the Laver Cup and hoping to add to his impressive haul of 10 points.
“The first two years were beyond everybody’s expectations, especially the first year when no-one really knew what to think going into it, but Roger and his team put on an incredible event,” said the American.
On paper we are the heavy, heavy underdogs but we’ve been a point, a couple of points, a match away the last two years – Jack Sock
“This year I didn’t think it was possible with the surgery, and I wasn’t playing my best singles, but my doubles success the last two years helped me get a captain’s pick.
“I’m just grateful to be here. I’m really, really excited to see the guys.”
Sock is convinced that the camaraderie fostered on the Team World bench over the past two years will play a huge role in helping them get their hands on the trophy for the first time.
“I think that’s what has given us a chance, the last two years,” added Sock.
“On paper we are the heavy, heavy underdogs but we’ve been a point, a couple of points, a match away the last two years.
“It doesn’t matter if you haven’t won a match in five years or you’ve won every match. I just thrive being out there; I love playing in front of a huge crowd.”
Shapovalov excited to return
“Electric” and “energetic” is how Denis Shapovalov describes his Team World partners as the Canadian gets ready to make his second Laver Cup appearance.
The 20-year-old is back in Captain McEnroe’s line-up after missing out 12 months ago and relishing the chance to reconnect with his teammates.
“It’s definitely completely different from any event I’ve played,” said Shapovalov.
“Having that bit of experience from Prague will help this time around. We don’t get to play on a team too often and especially with players from different countries.
“Two years ago, I loved the competition, so I’m excited to get started.
“The last time I was playing I was in really good form, really good shape in Prague and it was just a great time. I’m really excited to be in Geneva, it’s my first time here.”