Inside Team World: ‘We will bounce back’
Team World trails defending champions Team Europe 3-1 but remains confident after coming agonisingly close once again on day one of the Laver Cup in Geneva.
In the two previous editions of Laver Cup, Team World had never won the first match of the opening day.
Denis Shapovalov came close to achieving just that, missing two match points before losing a dramatic match tiebreaker against world N°5 Dominic Thiem.
We are two points down and we believe we are going to bounce back tomorrow – Patrick McEnroe
But despite a high level of frustration, the young Canadian knew it was important to quickly get over this first loss in order to get ready for the evening doubles.
“The team praised me in the locker room. We all kind of had a chat. But also, it’s my part to get over it and get ready for the doubles,” said Shapovalov.
“Definitely they picked me up, you know, but it’s not the end of the world. It’s just one match.”
In Friday’s second match, Jack Sock proved once again that Laver Cup brings the best out of him as he managed to beat Fabio Fognini to become the first Team World player ever to win an opening-day singles match.
It was also the first win of the year for the American, who was out for six months after a thumb injury and is now ranked No.210.
“I’m sure everyone here is surprised I won a singles match. It’s been a while”, said Sock.
“I played good singles before, so I know it’s in me. It’s an amazing feeling to bring it out today, playing for these guys and not just myself.”
Unfortunately for Captain John McEnroe and his team, Sock’s efforts were overshadowed by a disappointing evening session as Team World lost both matches, singles and doubles.
Taylor Fritz went down to fellow 21-year-old and Laver Cup Rookie Stefanos Tsitsipas in a close match tiebreaker.
“I wish I would have just gone after my shots,” said the American, “and if I lost that 10-pointer really going after it, then I’d be a bit better.”
Despite their good camaraderie, Sock and Shapovalov only managed to convert one of the 16 break points they earned against Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev.
“Roger came close to not being a human in this match,” said Jack Sock.
However, Team World remains confident of fighting back on day two.
“Well, there is no doubt it’s difficult, but there is also no doubt that we believe we can do it”, said Patrick McEnroe, Team World Vice Captain.
“And when you look at the two matches we have lost today, both were in supertiebreaks, one of which we had a couple of match points in, in the first match.
“We are two points down and we believe we are going to bounce back tomorrow.”