2022 Laver Cup preview: Big 4 together for one last time
ALL the players are locked in for the annual 2022 Laver Cup, which begins tomorrow with some of the world’s best taking on the top European players in London, England. In a tournament that has always heavily favoured the European side in terms of the men’s rankings, this year’s edition is no different, with Team Europe tipped to wipe the floor with Team World. However, there are still plenty of great players on both sides, so expect an entertaining tournament.
The event consists of five session over the three days from Friday until Sunday, with a mix of singles and doubles. Each player has to take part in a singles match during the first two days, and no individual can play more than two singles matches at the event. At least four of them must play doubles with no combination allowed to be used more than once unless the scores are tied at the end of the third day.
In that scenario, a doubles decider will be played to determine the winner. From a matchplay perspective, the matches are best of three, with the third set being a 10-point match tiebreaker when the regular sets are split at one apiece.
Effectively Day 1 and 2’s first sessions are two singles matches, followed by a singles and a doubles session at night. Day 3 sees the teams start with a doubles followed by three straight singles matches in a massive conclusion to the event. The key difference between the days is the value each match is worth. Friday’s matchplay is worth a point per match win, while Saturday’s is two, and Sunday’s is three, with the winner of the Laver Cup to reach 13 of the possible 24 points.
Alternative: Matteo Berrettini (Italy)
The Europeans are stacked, and the big calling card of this event was the return of the ‘Big 4’ to play alongside each other. Though Andy Murray is often the additional player to the ‘Big 3’, there is little doubt the quartet of Murray, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer was the most dominant group through the past two decades. With Federer announcing his retirement, the Swiss maestro will finish off at the tournament. Europe also brings in new world number two Casper Ruud, and Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas, while Italian talent Matteo Berrettini is the alternative, and a pretty handy one at that.
Alternative: Tommy Paul (United States)
Team World has some talent, but it is hard to see them picking up many points other than perhaps against the underdone Federer, and Murray. Frances Tiafoe reached a US Open semi-final so is in good form, while Felix Auger-Aliassime is a high-upside talent. He, Australian Alex de Minaur and Argentinian Diego Schwartzman are the three players outside the United States, with a heavy focus on the world’s largest tennis nation. Joining Tiafoe is Taylor Fritz, Jack Sock and then Tommy Paul as the alternative, with all those players far from the consistency of their European rivals.