Team world announces first players
Canadian duo Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime have been named alongside Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman as the first three players to represent John McEnroe’s Team World in the upcoming Laver Cup, to be held at TD Garden in Boston, September 24–26, 2021.
Shapovalov reached his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon, conquering two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray before losing to eventual winner Novak Djokovic. He currently stands at a career high ATP Singles ranking of No.10 and is no stranger to the Laver Cup, having been part of the team at the inaugural event in Prague in 2017 and more recently in Geneva in 2019.
“I’m so excited to be back with Team World for another Laver Cup,” said Shapovalov. “I have great memories from both Prague and Geneva a couple of years ago. It was a lot of fun being on the team with guys that I’m normally facing across the net and of course having McEnroe as our team leader – it’s such an honor. It’s definitely going to be a tough challenge for us, but I really believe if we all work together and play our best tennis we have a great chance.”
Twenty-two-year-old Shapovalov forms one half of the young, in-form Canadian duo that lit up the tennis world this month at Wimbledon. The other half is Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime who at just 20 years old and ranked No.15, is the youngest player in the top 20.
Auger-Aliassime was a highly successful junior who made the top 25 of the men’s game as an 18-year-old and reached five ATP finals as a teenager. In only his second appearance at Wimbledon he upset fourth seed Alexander Zverev, reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal before being beaten by good friend Matteo Berrettini in four sets.
“I feel so privileged to be representing Team World for the Laver Cup this year,” said Auger-Aliassime. “To be able to play in front of a full house at somewhere like TD Garden will be just incredible. I’m also so excited to have a legend like John McEnroe in my corner – I’m sure I will learn a lot!”
World No.13 Diego Schwartzman is back for Team World as they look to capture their first Laver Cup title in a fourth attempt. Schwartzman reached a career high No.8 in October last year, qualifying for the year-end Nitto ATP Finals in London for the first time. Earlier this year he captured his hometown ATP Tour event in Buenos Aires and was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros.
“The Laver Cup is such a great event,” said Schwartzman. “Playing in front of a full stadium at the United Center in Chicago back in 2018 was just incredible. I can only imagine, after the year we’ve all had, what the atmosphere will be like in front of a full capacity home crowd at TD Garden – it’s going to be incredible.”
Team World Captain McEnroe is delighted with the form of the first three players to be named in his team. “This year’s Laver Cup is so important to me personally and to us as a team,” said McEnroe.
“We came so close to winning in Geneva, it hurt. It is a loss that we will remember for a long time. We know it is not going to be easy to beat Team Europe, but I like our chances. All three of these players – Denis, Felix and Diego – compete hard, have beaten the best, and are at the top of the game, their records and rankings are proof of that. I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion. Bjorn and his team better be ready!”
The fourth edition of the Laver Cup will take place at TD Garden, Boston, from September 24-26, 2021. Team Europe hoisted the trophy at the inaugural event in Prague in 2017, Chicago in 2018 and Geneva in 2019.
Additional players for each team will be announced in due course.