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Nadal can inspire Team Europe to Laver Cup glory - Federer

21 September 2017 19:16

Roger Federer hopes Team Europe can ride on Rafael Nadal's coat-tails to claim victory at the inaugural Laver Cup in Prague.

The year's two grand slam winners are the star names for the team event over the next three days as tennis looks to replicate the rivalry of golf's Ryder Cup.

Federer will sit out the opening day of competition in the Czech capital, but Nadal is in action in the sole doubles match.

And the Swiss thinks his long-time rival's sensational 2017 – which has seen him win the French Open and the US Open – can be the perfect inspiration in the clash with the World Team.

"It was a dream season for [Nadal] to win the French," Federer told a media conference.

"Now with the US Open he's got all the confidence and that will serve us well.

"Hopefully the European fans will understand that we're playing in their home will really get behind us."

Friday's opening matches will see Marin Cilic open up against Frances Tiafoe, with Dominic Thiem facing John Isner and Alexander Zverev going head-to-head with Denis Shapovalov.

The first day will be closed out with Nadal partnering Tomas Berdych in a doubles rubber against Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock.

 

How does the tournament work?

Each day will have three singles matches and one doubles encounter, with the number of points awarded for wins increasing each day - one on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday.

The first team to reach 13 will win, with a doubles decider if level at 12-12.

 

Who's playing?

While Bjorn Borg appears to have the stronger side with the presence of experienced players and hot prospects, John McEnroe's options have been depleted by injury leading up to the event.

Juan Martin del Potro joined Milos Raonic in withdrawing due to fitness concerns, the Argentine replaced by 19-year-old Tiafoe.

Europe: Bjorn Borg (captain); Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Tomas Berdych, Fernando Verdasco (alternate).
World: John McEnroe (captain); Jack Sock, Nick Kyrgios, John Isner, Sam Querrey, Denis Shapovalov, Frances Tiafoe, Thanasi Kokkinakis (alternate).

They said what?

Kyrgios: "I think everyone on the team can beat Rafa on their day. Everyone has a big serve and that makes them dangerous."

Nadal: "It's not an exhibition at all. We are here to try our best. I woke up today and started practice at four in the morning. I don't practice for an exhibition match."

Shapovalov: "I'm ready to get some revenge on this guy [Zverev], but he's an incredible player so it's going to be tough. I'm excited for it."

Borg: "To be a captain and to be with these guys here is an honour. I've been watching these guys for years and still in awe of their tennis and to come to Prague and have this event; it's really the only time these players play in the same team. This is a very special occasion."

McEnroe: "The idea to me is some kind of Ryder Cup. I like the idea of what we're seeing, bringing the best of the best together. I like the idea of this event quite a bit. I believe that this will be something that will be a big boost for tennis. This could be an incredible thing."

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