Team World are the Laver Cup London 2022 champions
Team World has won its first ever Laver Cup! At the fifth time of asking, John McEnroe’s team lifted the trophy thanks to a remarkable trio of wins that defied expectations and turned the form book on its head.
After wins for Félix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock in Sunday’s opening doubles, and then a highly impressive straight sets victory for Auger-Aliassime against Novak Djokovic, Frances Tiafoe beat the former Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6 7-6(11) 10-8 after saving four match points to give the visitors to London’s O2 Arena an ecstatic victory.
As Tsitsipas’s forehand hit the net, Tiafoe fell onto his back on the distinctive black Laver Cup court, and was instantly mobbed by his entire team, including captain McEnroe for whom this is a personal triumph after four defeats at the helm.
Tiafoe had to weather an onslaught by Tsitsipas in the first set. The Greek, playing at the scene of his greatest triumph when he won the ATP Finals title in 2019, started off hitting the ball sweetly, luring Tiafoe into the net with clever use of the slice and then passing him mercilessly. The first set went by in a whisker, Tsitsipas taking it in just 21 minutes.
But Tiafoe gradually worked his way into the match. He served better as Tsitsipas’s level dropped a little, but neither man could break serve in the second set. That set up a 20-minute nerve-wracking but high quality tiebreak, in which Tsitsipas had four match points but Tiafoe won the set on his third set point with an exquisite side-spun backhand volley.
That set up another 10-point “Laver breaker” tiebreak, which seemed destined to go to Tiafoe when he led 8-4. But a rally by Tsitsipas narrowed the gap to 8-7. But then the Greek overhit an in-to-out forehand, and Tiafoe served out the match to give Team World a 13-8 victory.