VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — For the very first time, Team World successfully defended its Laver Cup title.
Americans Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe beat Hubert Hurkacz and Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7), 7-6 (7) to help Team World hit the 13-point mark needed to defeat Team Europe.
“It felt unbelievable,” said Team World captain John McEnroe, who added how Team Europe had beaten Team World numerous times.
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was also a member of Team World last year, said the repeat victory was even more special with it taking place on Canadian soil.
“To win is the best feeling and it’s nice to come back after London and to do it in Vancouver,” he said.
Auger-Aliassime said he looks forward to having an opportunity to play as part of a team.
“Every time I play for a team, I feel really good,” he said. “The tour can, playing singles all the time, get lonely I guess. To have teammates and win as a team, for me it’s really special.”
Team World’s 2022 victory marked Swiss star Roger Federer’s last professional appearance before retiring.
Canadian Milos Raonic was attending the tournament as an alternate for Team World in case of injury, and took part in a doubles match after the cup presentation.
He was paired with Chris Eubanks as the pair took on Arthur Fils and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
“Milos is a guy who changed the way Canadians looked at our game of tennis,” McEnroe said of Raonic’s legacy.
Team World took a 10-2 lead in the tournament Saturday to put itself in the driver’s seat.
The opening doubles match Sunday featured several sustained rallies, with Shelton hitting a behind-the-back shot during the second game.
Both sets went to tiebreakers, with Team Europe pushing to stay in the hunt for its second win of the three-day tournament.
But it wasn’t meant to be as Hurkacz missed a drop shot, allowing Team World to clinch the win.
The match was a tight affair, with Team World just edging out their European counterparts 80 to 76 on points.
“We gave 100%. Team World played unbelievable tennis every single match,” said Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg. “Of course we’re very disappointed. We didn’t expect to lose by this much, but what can you say? They played good tennis.”
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis