Enduring the most lopsided loss in Laver Cup history, hasn’t dampened Team World leaders’ enthusiasm for the international team event.
Team Europe dispensed a ruthless 14-1 thrashing of Team World to win its fourth consecutive Laver Cup. John Isner, whom captain John McEnroe calls “the spiritual leader” of Team World and Nick Kyrgios, who has played for World in all four Laver Cups, both vowed their team will break through and win Laver Cup.
Though neither man may be on the squad if it happens.
The 36-year-old Isner said he believes World has the will and skill to topple the dominant Team Europe squad.
“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 told the media in Boston. “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, 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, and I also think John made some good points about trying to showcase this maybe just a little bit more.”
Isner said Laver Cup is a special competition within the ATP season that should be treated with respect.
“An aside, it also seems like there are some members of the tennis media that want to delegitimize this event for some reason, and I find that very, very odd, don’t like talking about it or tweeting about it as they would any other event, but this is not an exhibition,” Isner said. “We care deeply about this event. It sucks that we have lost every year, but this event is super special.”
Kyrgios’ audacious shot-making skill and team spirit—he often worked with McEnroe advising teammates on strategy during changeovers—make him a popular Laver Cup presence. But in the aftermath of the shellacking Team World absorbed, Kyrgios spoke like a man who may have played his last Laver Cup match.
“It’s unfortunate I haven’t been a part of the winning team yet. I think that something will change in the years to come. World will get over the line I think at least once or twice,” Kyrgios said. “But it’s been fun. I saw my best memories have been on the Laver Cup court. Really disappointed I wasn’t able to get the win yesterday with John. That was the first doubles match I have lost here as well. I have had some great memories with Jack I will never forget. We lit up a lot of the stadiums around the world. I’ve won a singles match in Laver Cup. I had a lot of fun.
“I got to know Johnny Mac, P-Mac better, got to know some of these guys better as well. It’s been a good run for me.”
Injury-induced inactivity has seen Kyrgios’ ranking plummet to No. 96. Kyrgios said younger, more athletic teammates, including Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, will take leadership of Team World in the coming years.
“I know there is some young, talented guys that are just better. You know, they are more versatile, more athletic,” Kyrgios said. “I have had a good run. I feel like I have done the World proud. I competed every year in Laver Cup really well. I played some great matches, had some chances against Roger, had match points.
“I feel like I have done my job. You’ve got Shapo, Felix, Reilly, these guys are going to be on the team for many, many years to come. I’m excited for them. I hold my head up high for what I have done for this team. I think I have given everything.”
Photo credit: Laver Cup