Team Europe reflects on the person who escaped

To be sure, keen Laver Cup watchers note that last year’s lopsided result in Boston was somewhat misleading.

Team World had one win but more could have followed since six of their nine matches spanned the Laver Breaker deciders. Five went the way of Team Europe.

The tables really turned in London with this version, depriving Roger Federer of being on the winning side in his professional farewell.

Five of Laver’s seven breakers faced star Bjorn Borg in an 8-13 loss that produced moment after moment in front of 81,384 fans who gathered at the O2 Arena over the course of the three days.

In two of those, Team Europe earned the match point.

This included Sunday, when the 8-4 lead evaporated. Stefanos Tsitsipas led a set and took four points from that match in the second set tiebreaker to force the one-game tiebreaker, only to Francis Tiafoe electrifying the rally and giving Team World a coveted first title.

In fact, minute margins have mostly fallen in the way of visitors.

“Not the best result, not something I would have expected after I had that lead and so many chances during that match,” Tsitsipas said, ending a three-game winning streak in the Laver Cup solo.

“We all give our part. We do what we can. That’s what I tried to achieve today. There’s nothing I regret. I did what I had to do. I played with my heart. I played for the team. I played for my continent.”

“Unfortunately, things did not go the way I wanted. We move on. I am very optimistic about the future. I hope to be able to return to this competition and win many Laver Cup titles with my teammates.”

Borg was very upset – just as he had been when he ruled the game decades ago – and wasn’t about to change as he summed up his feelings.

“To have the Big Four, who are different (from) the younger generation, and the players here, has been fantastic,” Borg said at a media conference with his players at their side. “Roger here, one of the greats, quit tennis, walk away, and we’re all a little sad about that.

“But we had a great time. Of course we wanted to win. That’s why we’re here. We were here to try to defend our title but we didn’t. They had three good days. This time they were better than us.”

Federer hasn’t played since Wimbledon last year, though he cleared himself well and was one point away from ending his career with a win lining up with good teammate Rafael Nadal.

Nadal himself has played five matches since the US Open.

Novak Djokovic played his first match since Wimbledon and won his first two matches on Saturday night before a wrist injury hampered the 21-times Grand Slam champion in defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Andy Murray, a member of the Big Four, had a tough week in the Davis Cup and fell into his scrimmage on his Laver Cup debut, one in singles and one in doubles with Matteo Berrettini. Yes, they are both in those cutouts.

“I feel like I’ve said that a lot lately, but I felt like we had a good game,” said Murray, who wore some below-the-knee pressure on Sunday. “I thought we were a strong team and we did enough to win the match.

“We didn’t manage to cross the line. It’s a shame, because I enjoyed playing a lot with Mathieu. He played very well.”

When asked what he would miss, Federer began by saying, “Not losing press conferences, I tell you that. They are the worst.”

But beyond the victories and losses, the final word for Team Europe should fall to Federer, and more specifically about Friday night that was broadcast to millions around the world.

“Being on the court on Friday and having such a huge moment in my career, surrounded by my biggest competitors like Novak, Andy and Rafa, was really unique, and I can never thank them enough for being there and staying there and getting through it with,” he said.

“I hope their farewell will also be unique and special, and useful to them, because it was beautiful to me.”

Leave a Comment