Team Europe successfully defended their Laver Cup title by winning two of the three matches on the third and the final day of the competition against Team World.
Team World needed to win three of the four matches on the final day and they got off to a good start when the pair of John Isner and Jack Sock overcame a first set loss to defeat Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev in the first match of the day. They won 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 to go into the lead for the first time in the history of Laver Cup.
And when Federer lost the first set of his singles match against Isner in the second match, it looked like the tie could be headed towards an exciting finish. A defeat for Federer would have put the pressure squarely back on Team Europe given they would have then needed to win their last two matches to win the tournament.
However, Federer reacted strongly to win the next tie-breaker before finishing off the match 10-7 in the final set, leaving Zverev or Novak Djokovic to win their match and claim the title. As it turned out, Djokovic wasn’t required as Zverev overcame nerves to shut out Kevin Anderson in three sets, winning 6-7, 7-5, 10-7 to win the encounter.
Speaking to the media after the defeat, the Team World coach John McEnroe said he was frustrated at having got this close and then lost.
McEnroe said: “We have got to regroup. I tasted it and I felt like we had this match to win the whole thing. We’re not out of it but it’s a hard one to swallow, no question.”
He added, “I’m an admirer of Roger Federer but right now I hate his guts,” for his wonderful comeback win in his singles match against John Isner.
Later even Federer admitted he didn’t want it to go that close, having needed to overcome match-points before winning his match. He said:
“I’m not sure if I wanted it to be that exciting! What a match, what a weekend. Thank you Chicago, that’s it. I can’t thank you enough.”
“Regardless of what happens it’s been a successful weekend. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come now. The Laver Cup is here to celebrate tennis and have a great weekend and for everyone to enjoy themselves.”
Federer and Djokovic are now expected to be involved in a keen tussle with Rafael Nadal for the year-ending number one spot with all three in with a good chance to finish at the top of the ATP Rankings.