Tennis: Federer wants full strength teams for new concept

Roger Federer celebrates after defeating Andy Murray. Photo / Getty Images
Roger Federer celebrates after defeating Andy Murray. Photo / Getty Images

Any event named after Rod Laver should be taken seriously and Swiss legend Roger Federer is adamant the new event which pits Europe against the rest of the world will be.

The competition will pit a team of the best six European players against the top six from the rest of the world and the inaugural edition is scheduled for September 22-24 at the O2 Arena in Prague.

"The idea is to absolutely have a tough tournament, tough matches, the better man wins, that's the idea of the Laver Cup," Federer said.

To promote the competition, Federer played some rallies against Tomas Berdych on a boat cruising the Vltava river to a crowd watching from the famed Charles Bridge.

Bjorn Bjorg will captain Europe while John McEnroe will captain the world team.

No ATP rankings points will be awarded, but Federer insisted that an exhibition "is not how the captains see it, that's not how Rod Laver sees it. He wants us to represent our part of the world with pride and try our very best and also win for our teammates."

The teams won't be named until after the US Open, but it's not clear yet if all players who will formally qualify via the rankings will be available.

What is for certain, organisers said, is that Federer and Rafael Nadal, the finalists at this year's Australian Open, will be on the European team.

With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka possibly on the team, Europe seems to be the one to beat.

"On paper, we look as the big favorites," Federer said.

"We have more depth in Team Europe that we can choose from."

The tournament will include three singles and one doubles match every day and Federer was clear about his preferential partner for the doubles.

"I guess I would love to play with Rafa just because of our rivalry has been so special," Federer said.

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