Roger Federer pumped to be at Laver Cup Vancouver 2023
Roger Federer is expecting to witness “exceptional tennis” as the world’s best face off during Laver Cup Vancouver 2023.
“I’m very happy and pumped up to be here,” said Federer on Tuesday at Rogers Arena. “It’s going to be short and sweet, three full days, action-packed.”
“I get very excited about Laver Cup doubles, because there are usually teams that we haven’t seen in the past so I would like to maybe see Hurkacz and Rublev play together,” said the 42-year-old Swiss great. “On the World side, there’s tons of doubles teams with Ben Shelton, Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz … I just like superstar combinations.”
Federer, who suited up in the blue uniform at Laver Cup in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022, admits he isn’t exactly impartial. “There’s something in me that’s Team Europe,” he grinned.
“I’m happy if World wins, don’t get me wrong — but somehow, I can feel it deep inside, I want Europe to win.”
“I like being in the tennis sphere,” smiled Federer. “Maybe one day, I’ll be the Captain of the team. There’s no plans as of now, but I think that could be quite nice.”
This year’s debutantes should learn to thrive in a team environment, be well prepared, understand how to embrace a big crowd and soak in advice from Laver Cup veterans, Federer said.
The Laver Cup concept was hatched years ago between Federer and his agent Tony Godsick on a long commute during Rolex Shanghai Masters. “We started discussing how I think it would be great to have the best players get together and also have a place where the former greats can reunite and have a role to play,” Federer said.
“For me, it’s personally completely exceeded expectations,” he said ahead of the Laver Cup’s sixth edition. “I never thought I was going to play in Geneva …[and] obviously also a little bit nostalgic for me to retire at The O2, where I did play a lot of my matches,” Federer said, fondly recalling the 2019 and 2022 tournaments.
“Seeing the camaraderie, people from different countries coming together in a team, like me and Rafa or me and Novak, has been wonderful,” said Federer. “Seeing the fun and the joy that Borg and McEnroe have brought to the teams but also how much they enjoy their roles has been great.”
“Looking back at all the last editions, they’ve all been sold out, they’ve all been so much fun. What’s been, for me really important, is that the players go away with loads of information in their backpacks and they can apply it in their day-to-day practice, their day-to-day life on a tennis court and think back to the Laver Cup that they learned something from the likes of John McEnroe or Bjorn Borg, or speaking to Rafa or me or Novak or Laver.”
Two-time calendar Grand Slam champion Rod Laver, for whom the event is named, often expresses his gratitude to the event co-founders, Federer said. “We want to leave the game better off and hopefully, in a small way, we can do that and shine a light on the former greats,” he said.
Federer recalled training with Team World’s Felix Auger Aliassime in Dubai years ago. “I’m a big fan of his game, I always wish him the best,” said the 20-time major winner. “I hope that the Laver Cup can be again a turnaround for him.”
The father-of-four said he greeted former rival Milos Raonic on Tuesday. “It’s great to see him going again and back on the court,” said Federer, describing the Canuck as “one of the greatest servers of our generation.”
Beyond players on court or on the bench, Federer said he hopes Laver Cup can impact future generations.
“These events are not to be underestimated,” said the former world number one. “You create memories for children and their parents to look back on and go, look, remember that one time Laver Cup was in Vancouver, that inspired you to pick up a tennis racket or to train harder or you got a chance to meet one of the players, and you were in the stadium and you wanted to be like them, and maybe that’s going to be a catalyst for a lot of juniors here on the western side on Canada or even on a broader scale depending who is going to show it on TV.”
Being a spectator rather than a competitor is a role that Federer, who follows ATP Tour results and checks out highlights, said he’s thrilled to embrace. “Being live in a stadium honestly has a different feel, and tennis is a great live sport so I’m really happy to be back here in Vancouver and seeing some live tennis again.”
“Vancouver’s going to be a great host just because it’s a great sports city,” he added, referencing the region’s strong ice hockey following and its history with the Winter Olympics. “Tennis is not here very much, so having the best players in the world come to Vancouver, people are going to be excited.”
Federer will be invited onto the black court during the evening session on Friday, September 22 to mark the one-year anniversary of his last competitive match.
Federer will flip the coin for the last match on Friday evening and then return to the court afterwards for an interview with former World No.1 Jim Courier, who was the first person to interview Federer after his final match in London last year.
All fans attending Friday’s evening session will have the chance to submit questions for Courier to ask Federer on court.
Plus, two lucky fans at each session will be randomly selected to sit courtside and meet Federer.