The third chapter of the Laver Cup, tennis’s answer to golf’s Ryder Cup, produced a thrilling finale in Geneva’s Palexpo Arena as Alexander Zverev beat Milos Raonic 10-4 in the match tiebreaker in front of the legend himself, Rod Laver.
After three days of exhilarating tennis from both teams, Zverev sealed the victory with a crosscourt forehand winner, threw himself onto the black court and was immediately swamped by the rest of Team Europe who then went into a victory dance, roared on by 17,000 delirious fans.
His 6-4,3-6,10-4 victory meant a clean sweep of all three editions of the Laver Cup for Team Europe in Prague, Chicago and now Geneva.
Zverev took a bathroom break after the second set, and was pursued virtually all the way by a live TV camera and mentors Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal who used some “colourful” language to ensure their man stayed pumped up. In his on court post match interview he revealed that Federer had said to him “this can turn your season around. I wanted to repay them for trusting me to play the final singles match”.
Team captains Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe confirmed they would take on their roles again as the circus moves to Boston in 2020.
Gracious losing Team World Captain John McEnroe said
“Team World gave their all and came very close again, but Europe found a way to win, it was awesome and I’m getting sick and tired of you!”
“I’m very proud of my team, they did a hell of a job. I’m a very happy captain,” an emotional Federer paid tribute to the Swiss crowd.
“Congratulations Team World on an unbelievable fight, I can’t wait for the next one in Boston. For us, so many emotions. It’s been an unbelievable rollercoaster.
“Bjorn, you’re a great captain, and Rocket (Rod Laver) thanks for being here today. It makes it more special.
“It’s been a dream weekend for me to be playing in Switzerland. Thank you for all the noise you’ve made, I’ve loved every moment.”
The dramatic final day began with the withdrawals of Team Europe’s Rafa Nadal, and then Team World’s Nick Kyrgios.
In the opening doubles match Europe’s Roger Federer partnered by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the absence of injured Rafa Nadal, took the first set off Jack Sock and John Isner but the all-American duo fought back to take the match 10-8 in the tie-breaker. Three points to team World.
American Taylor Fritz followed up that success with victory over Dominic Thiem to give World an 11-7 lead, meaning Europe had to win both remaining singles to snatch victory.
Next Roger Federer, roared on by his home crowd, delivered the goods with a straight sets win over John Isner in match 11 meaning everything came down to a winner takes all finale between Aleaxander Zverev and Milos Raonic.
The pair traded sets and it all came down to the decisive tie-breaker.
It was Zverev ,who had clinched victory for Europe in Chicago twelve months earlier, who finished the job in style again enabling Europe to take a perfect 3-0 record to Boston in 2020.