TENNIS: The Laver Cup lands in London for the first time, providing some intriguing fixtures that will delight tennis fans across the world.
Will Team World have a chance against one of the strongest Europe teams of all time? We preview the best of the day one action below.
Andy Murray with a chance to rectify his poor form
The fifth edition of the Laver Cup takes place in London and will be played at the O2 Arena, pitting together the best tennis players from across the world. Unlike Wimbledon and other Grand Slams, the Laver Cup is brand new, played for the first time in 2017, and features two teams in competition rather than a seed of 128 players competing for one trophy.
The Laver Cup pits Team Europe against Team World, with six players representing each side.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud represent what is likely to be another dominant Europe team this year, as they seek their fifth Laver Cup title win out of five.
The highlight of the exciting singles fixtures on day one is Andy Murray v Alex de Minaur.
Andy Murray is the underdog at 1.82 after a poor year of tennis has seen him shoot down the ATP world rankings to 43rd. Getting knocked out at the third round in the US Open, the second round at Wimbledon and the second round at the Australian Open, Murray has failed to find his world-beating form this year and looks set for another loss here.
His opponent, De Minaur, is ranked 22nd in the world and has been tipped by many to be the future of Australian tennis and a future Grand Slam champion. He made it to the third round of the US Open, the fourth round of Wimbledon, and won the Atlanta Open in 2022, his sixth career singles title.
Beating Murray the one time he played him in 2019, he goes into the match with the form and historic advantage. However, it is Murray that will have the home advantage and the knowledge that he has some of the best players in the history of tennis playing on his side.
De Minaur is the favourite at 1.46 and could have an easy ride or a very tough day at the office, completely dependent though, on which Andy Murray turns up.
The most formidable doubles team of all time?
Playing either Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer would be a bad enough day for 99 percent of professionals but coming up against both in a doubles match will surely represent the toughest challenge of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock’s career.
The Americans come up against arguably the single two best tennis players of all time and, despite the increasing age and more injury-prone state of the two champions, will likely have a very difficult evening.
Winning 42 Grand Slam titles between them, Nadal and Federer were both deemed prodigies at young ages, and both fulfilled the world’s predictions, dominating the tennis universe for almost two decades.
Frances Tiafoe will arrive in London on the back of a very impressive run at the US Open, where he lost to the eventual victor Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final. Jack Sock has had a fruitful career taking home a handsome $11.8 million over his four singles titles wins, though never claiming a Grand Slam trophy. They make a strong team, but will they have enough to emerge victorious here?
Both Americans are below the age of 30 and can still be considered in their prime. Playing against a Federer, that has announced he is retiring after this Laver Cup, and a Nadal, that was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon semi-final with a persistent injury, may see the younger men with a good chance of winning. At 2.3, they may be worth backing to cause an upset.
However, doubles can be less physically demanding, and that may mean they face a Nadal and Federer playing on their game as they were in the early 2010’s, which would surely make an unbeatable pairing.
Regardless of the outcome, it will be fantastic to see the two superstars on the same court again. It truly will be the final time soon, so backing them at 1.6 could be your last chance.
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