Laver Cup moves into TD Garden
The wait is almost over. The Laver Cup is only days away from start-time on Friday, September 24 at TD Garden.
With workers still putting the finishing touches on the court behind him on Monday, Laver Cup CEO Steve Zacks looked ahead to the much-anticipated Team Europe vs. Team World showdown.
“It’s been a really long quest to get here,” said Zacks. “It’s just great to finally be here and see it coming into play.”
The championship banners that hung high above Zacks were a testament to the storied franchises that call the TD Garden home: 17 of them for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, six for the NHL’s Boston Bruins.
The Laver Cup is even better when it comes to a big sports town, particularly one that has so many great teams,” said Zacks. “The players really love it. They love playing in a venue that has so much history.
The fourth edition of the Laver Cup has plenty of star power. Team Europe will feature US Open champion Daniil Medvedev of Russia, Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev of Germany, Greece’s Stefano Tsitsipas, Russia’s Andre Rublev, Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, and Norway’s Casper Ruud.
Team World is: Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, Americans John Isner and Reilly Opelka, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, and lifelong Celtics fan Nick Kyrgios of Australia.
“Team Europe is stacked. Every player is in the Top 10,” said Zacks. “Team World has some great up-and-coming players with Felix and Denis. Kyrgios is someone the fans love. He can beat anyone on any given day. You’ve got Opelka and Isner, who are great on fast courts with their serves. So it’s really one that is unpredictable as ever. I think that’s what makes this so exciting.”
The Laver Cup, named in honor of Hall of Famer and 11-time major titlist Rod Laver, provides a rare opportunity for the sport’s top players; in an individual sport, the chance to be part of a team.
“Normally, they’re out there by themselves,” said Zacks. “Not only do they get to build relationships with guys they’re normally competing against, they also have their captains, who serve as mentors during the process. What’s really unique is that fans get to see them in a whole new way. I think that’s one of the reasons why it has really taken off.”
“When we were first coming up with the idea, the thought was that Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] could play doubles together,” he added. “That was one of the main concepts — the idea of rivals becoming teammates. The first year in Prague, we didn’t know what would happen when the players got out on the court.
“Just to see the intense competition and how much they wanted to win was thrilling. It really validated the whole concept. In Chicago, we wondered, ‘Was that just a fluke? Will it happen again?’ And it did.”