McEnroe On Team World: “These Guys Have Given It Their All'
Team Europe won its fourth Laver Cup in as many editions this weekend. Team World Captain John McEnroe hopes that this will be his squad’s last defeat, and that his group is able to channel his late friend, Vitas Gerulaitis, who once said, “Nobody beats Vitas Gerulaitis 17 times in a row!"
Team Europe triumphed 14-1 in a lopsided result on paper. But that was in large part because the Europeans won five of the six Match Tie-breaks, including in the doubles clincher on Sunday, when Andrey Rublev and Alexander Zverev defeated Reilly Opelka and Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-7(4), 10-3.
“We battled our best. These guys are a great team, no question, incredible team. They had good team spirit. We did as well,” McEnroe said. “Obviously if you get a couple different results, [we] could have put more pressure on them, but we just came up short in I think [five] tie-breaks. You win half those, totally different story.”
Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 26, 2021
Team World showed great camaraderie throughout the weekend, from their bench celebrations to coaching each other and getting the fans into the matches.
“These guys have given it their all. I just hope I can make a slight bit of positive difference each time. That's what I try to do,” McEnroe said. “It would be nice to be part of a team that won, to at least somehow figure out a way.”
One of the team’s players, Nick Kyrgios, has long expressed how much he loves the Laver Cup. Although the Australian was disappointed to not lift the trophy this year, he still had a blast competing with his teammates in Boston.
“Obviously not the result we wanted, but I thought we all had fun. For the new guys, Reilly [Opelka] and Felix [Auger-Aliassime], I think they had great debuts, put in great performances,” Kyrgios said. “As John said, [a] couple points here or there could have changed the swing of things early on. That's the way it goes, and the memories I will take away [are of] another great week. I had a lot of fun.”
Team Europe was favoured heading into the competition, with six of the Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings on its roster this year, and they showed why. But according to Team World veteran John Isner, the defeat will not stop his team from pushing for victory next year.
“Team World is going to keep coming out here and battling the underdog role, actually something that is pretty special, and we have made this event close a bunch of times,” Isner said. “I think I speak for everyone up here — whether I play again or not, who knows — but for the future newcomers, there is no one any of us would rather play for than Captain McEnroe. As Reilly said, [he is] one of the biggest legends our sport has ever seen, one of the biggest personalities in a very, very good way our sport has ever seen.
“So this event has it all. I do think the World will get one of these eventually.”