Inside Team World: No fear, plenty of belief
Nick Kyrgios gave Team World a rallying cry on the eve of Laver Cup 2019 as they prepare to try and take the trophy from defending champions Team Europe in Geneva.
Kyrgios played on losing teams at both Prague 2017 and Chicago 2018, and Team World again faces a Team Europe packed with higher rankings and more titles.
However, the world No.27 refuses to be intimidated as he and his team-mates head into three days of action at Palexpo.
“I’m personally not scared of that team,” said the Australian. “I have beaten every single one of their members, and I know guys on my team have beaten them before, as well.
“I mean, yeah, on paper we’re undermanned and we’re an underdog, but I don’t believe that – you know, I strongly believe that we can win.
“Like we have been so close the last few years. We have had match points to win the whole thing. John had match points against Federer. I had match points against Federer. We got super unlucky.
“Yeah, okay, on ranking – I think ranking is the most overrated thing ever. I strongly believe we are going to win.”
Sock ready for double shift
Team World has dominated the doubles in previous editions of the Laver Cup, and once again red hopes will rest on Jack Sock leading the way.
The American is the second-highest points scorer in Laver Cup history with 10, just two behind Roger Federer, with all of the American’s success coming in doubles.
Surgery has interrupted this season but Sock is confident he will prove a worthy captain’s pick.
“As a doubles specialist, I trust my abilities out there,” he said.
“I played for fun I think my whole career in doubles, but obviously the pick this year was to try to use some success I have had and use the confidence I have in doubles with these guys this week. I love playing with all of them.”
Sock faces a busy opening day on Friday as he takes on world No.11 Fabio Fognini in singles, followed by a new doubles partnership alongside Denis Shapovalov against Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev.
“Obviously Shapo and I will be first-time partners, and we’re going to go out, just have some fun, stay relaxed,” said Sock.
“I think we play our best when we’re having fun out there.”
McEnroe hoping for end an era
The presence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with 39 Grand Slam singles titles between them, is enough to make Team Europe a formidable proposition even before considering the remarkable depth in the team.
World Captain John McEnroe could be forgiven a little wishful thinking when asked to speculate on who might be the greatest of them all.
“We’ll know that when their careers have ended,” said the seven-time major winner.
“At some point they’re going to stop, I think. Maybe after this weekend (laughter).
“They may just call it a day when we just whip their asses (laughter). Wouldn’t that be incredible? That would be a surprising story. We’d like to be part of that.”