Ben Shelton and Francis Tiafoe celebrate after sealing the Laver Cup title for Team World.
The Laver Cup was held in Vancouver this year, with Team World taking the victory. The event is a team-style tournament where players from Europe compete against opponents from across the world.
Roger Federer created the tournament in 2016, and it has become very popular amongst the tennis community. There are three days of competition and 13 points are needed to win the event. Each day has both doubles and singles matches, with a different amount of points awarded per win on different days. For example, on day one you get one point per victory, on day two you get two points per victory, and so on. This format keeps the tournament exciting, and it makes each match important. In the past, Team Europe has dominated the competition, winning the first four meetings. Until last year, Team World had never been close to winning. In previous years, Team Europe was stacked with players including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and multiple top ten players. Team World, however, pulled out a surprising victory after several close matches.
This year, Team World was attempting to defend their title. Headlining Team World were three Americans: Frances Tiafoe, Ben Shelton, and Taylor Fritz. All three of them had great seasons this year and were expected to lead Team World to victory. On the other hand, Team World had Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, and Gael Monfils — all fantastic players in their own right. The matchup was expected to be close because the teams seemed, on paper, to be evenly matched.
On the first day, Team World swept Team Europe 4-0. Ben Shelton beat Arthur Fils in a solid 7-6(4) 6-1 match, and his teammate Francisco Cerudulo won his match 6-2 7-5. In the night session, Team World dominated, winning both a singles and doubles match. In the doubles match, Americans Tommy Paul and Tiafoe put on a show by winning in a thrilling third-set tiebreak.
After a disappointing day one for Team Europe, they looked to get their first points on the second day. Fritz, however, beat out Rublev in two clinical sets 6-2 7-6(3). After Taylor’s match, Team World was up 6-0 and only needed seven more points to win. Finally, Ruud won a match against Paul 7-6(8) 6-2 to get onto the scoreboard. During the night, though, Team World showed no mercy, winning the singles and doubles match again, making the score 10-2.
On the final day, the chances of winning for Team Europe were slim to none. They needed to win all four of their matches to get their hands on the trophy. Both teams put out their best pairs; for Team Europe, it was Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, and for Team World, it was Shelton and Tiafoe. This match went to two tiebreaks, but, in the end, Team World came out victorious, finishing 7-6(4) 7-6(5).
The 2023 Laver Cup was a disappointing show for Team Europe. Hopefully, they can come back next year with Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz to give them a chance at winning.