Laver Cup Confidential
One of the distinguishing features of Laver Cup is the bonds formed by teammates.
They have mentioned it over and over since the Laver Cup started at Prague in 2017.
Entire days spent together mean learning about one another’s habits … including how tidy they are. Inquiring minds want to know, after all.
So without further adieu, we present a light-hearted edition of Laver Cup locker room, not so confidential.
Roger the comedian
‘Relaxed Roger’ is an apt term for Roger Federer, who played the final match of his career Friday night alongside Rafael Nadal as captain Bjorn Borg looked on at The O2.
But he is also a comedian, according to Team Europe teammates Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“It’s true that Roger is the loudest and the funniest of all. He sort of has all these nicknames for the players,” said Ruud. “He calls Bjorn ‘The King,’ which I think he deserves. He has many jokes.”
“He talks a little bit Swedish with me as well.”
Another language to add to the list for the multilingual Swiss, who was formerly coached by Swedes Peter Lundgren and Stefan Edberg.
“Roger is goofy and giggling and stuff, which adds a whole lot of different flair in the team,” confirmed Tsitsipas, before citing Andy Murray’s renown brand of comedy.
“Andy, he’s known for his particular dry humor from time to time. I enjoy it a lot,” said the Greek.
And let’s not forget another member of the Big Four, Novak Djokovic.
“Novak is a super cool dude. I like the guy a lot. We clown all the time. He’s actually very funny,” said Team World’s Frances Tiafoe.
Meticulous with the placement and angle of his water bottles on court throughout his career, one might assume that Nadal is neat and tidy in the locker room.
Not so, apparently.
“Rafa is pretty messy. Shoes and clothes are hanging everywhere. But on court he’s not messy, so he saves all his energy for the court I guess,” said Ruud, who trains at his friend’s academy in Mallorca.
Cameras often focus on Tiafoe’s bench during matches. Items are strewn like spaghetti.
The American owned up to it but said compatriot Taylor Fritz was the messiest on Team World.
“I’m definitely messy,” said Tiafoe. “Obviously you guys see my benches on court, so coming into the locker room, I have so much s**t, I can’t organize it. Takes a while.
“My stuff is like everywhere. I know where things are. Fritz kind of doesn’t really care.”
Which McEnroe is messier, captain John or vice-captain Patrick?
“Definitely John, yeah,” said Patrick. “I do a lot of picking up after John, make sure he’s got everything he needs.”
Now for the orderly bunch
All this talk of messiness. But who is the most organized? For Team Europe, Tsitsipas cited Ruud and himself.
“Casper, he’s very organized, although he did put most of his stuff next to my locker the other day, and I had to move his stuff away,” smiled Tsitsipas.
“I would put myself in there, too. I have had a few players say that I’m extremely organized in how I just place my bottles, place my towels, place everything. I don’t like when stuff’s everywhere.”
Djokovic merits inclusion on the list, mentioned Patrick McEnroe.
“He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that leaves a lot of things to chance,” he said of the 21-time Grand Slam winner.
Late to the party
As Big Foe’ dished the dirt on Fritz, the Californian cited Tiafoe when asked who is sometimes loose with their timekeeping.
“Frances is always the one we are waiting for,” said a jovial Fritz. “Always late. I’m usually the one that’s always late, but he makes me look great.”
Tiafoe wasn’t about to deny it.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m late to everything,” he said. “Yeah, me and time just don’t really get along.” – Frances Tiafoe
Providing more insight on players’ personalities, both Fritz and Tiafoe used the same term, “locked in,” to describe teammates Alex de Minaur of Australia and Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“You kind of let them do their thing,” said Tiafoe. “Then the American guys are just like being clowns and loud.”