4 min read
The 2021 Laver Cup in Boston went the way of Team Europe quickly for their fourth consecutive title over Team World. Heading into the weekend,
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS* made it obvious that Team World had a tough road ahead of them in order to even challenge the loaded Team Europe lineup.
Based purely on UTR Ratings, Team Europe had three players with a UTR Rating in the 16’s range while Team World had zero. Team World’s highest-rated player, Denis Shapovalov, was just barely rated above Team Europe’s lowest-rated player, Casper Ruud.
Team Europe’s dominant 14-1 victory was clinched by Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev winning a deciding match tiebreak over John Isner and Denis Shapovalov on Sunday. The remaining three singles matches scheduled for that afternoon were not played.
Team Europe was boosted by the surprise appearance of Roger Federer, a co-creator of the Laver Cup. Though the Swiss didn't take the court, he played his part for both the players and the fans. After undergoing another knee surgery this summer, it's unclear when he will play again though he did say competing in the 2022 Laver Cup is a goal.
“The worst is behind me,” Federer said in a statement to Swiss channel SFR Sport. “I'm looking forward to everything that is to come. When you come back after an injury, every day that goes by feels better than the last. It's an emotional moment.”
Here's a quick reminder of who played the team event at TD Garden:
Daniil Medvedev (UTR Rating 16.08)
(UTR Rating 16.04)
(UTR Rating 16.00)
Matteo Berrettini (UTR Rating 15.82)
(UTR Rating 15.65)
(UTR Rating 15.59)
Six singles matches were completed in the first two days and INSIGHTS correctly predicted the winner of all six. For what it’s worth, INSIGHTS also expected Team Europe to sweep all three singles matches on Sunday.
Still, some of the matches were absolute nail-biters, making for an exciting weekend. On Day 1, Matteo Berrettini just barely topped Felix Auger-Aliassime, 6-7(3), 7-5, 10-8, and Rublev inched past Diego Schwartzman that evening, 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.
INSIGHTS had given Berrettini a 69% chance of beating the Canadian, while Rublev had a 63% chance of winning his encounter with Schwartzman.
The first doubles match of the event was the only match go in the way of Team World when Shapovalov and Isner beat Zverev and Berrettini, 4-6, 7-6(2), 10-1.
Day 2 saw every match go toward Team Europe’s tally, building a nearly insurmountable lead. There were two lopsided singles matches when Nick Kyrgios fell to Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 and Shapovalov lost to Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-0. Team World’s Isner gave Zverev a run for his money when he pushed him to a deciding tiebreaker, ultimately losing 7-6(5), 6-7(6),10-5.
On Sunday, Team World would have had to win all four matches to take the trophy. Instead, Team Europe clinched the win in the first match of the day.
“A lot of matches could have gone both ways and we won most of those matches,” Zverev said in an on-court interview. “At the end of the day, the score says that it was 14-1, but it could have gone both ways a lot of the time... The guys have been amazing. The group of this team has been absolutely amazing. I think a lot of us came a lot closer together and to be honest, I can’t wait for London next year.”
Laver Cup began in 2017, and Team Europe has won all four editions of the team event. Next year, the three-day event will take place at the O2 Arena in London.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 p.m. EST, Sept. 26, 2021.