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New global event to honor Australian legend Rod Laver

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Golf has the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. And now, tennis will have the Laver Cup™.

In a major global tennis innovation TEAM8, which manages Roger Federer, Tennis Australia, which runs the Australian Open, and Jorge Paulo Lemann, a Brazilian businessman and former Davis Cup player for both Brazil and Switzerland, have combined to create a three-day event that will pit a team of the greatest tennis players from Europe against a team comprised of their counterparts from the rest of the world.

 

The event has been named in honor of Australian tennis legend, and one of the most respected sportsmen of all time, Rod Laver.

The inaugural edition of the event will be held in September 2017. Sites are currently being considered, and it is expected the first event will take place in Europe. The Laver Cup™ will be held annually, but will not take place during Summer Olympics years.

Laver, the only player to win the calendar Grand Slam on two occasions, said he was thrilled and humbled by this recognition.

“I am deeply honored that TEAM8, Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo have seen fit to give my name to this wonderful new development in tennis. I can see this becoming a very important part of the experience of being a top global player, with the world’s best longing to earn the right to participate and thriving in this style of competition,” he said.

“It’s so good to see the sport of tennis finally develop a proper counterpart event to the Ryder Cup. It will be fantastic for both players and fans, and it’s a crowning privilege for me to be associated with this new competition.”

Teams will be comprised of six players, with a legend of the sport from each region serving in the role of Captain. Four players on each team will qualify though a results-based formula. The final two players will be selected by the Captains, who will also be responsible for the playing order in singles, and the composition of the doubles teams.

The competition will take place on one court over three days, with each day featuring three singles matches and a doubles match. All matches will be best of three sets. In the event of a tie after all 12 matches, a final pressure-packed doubles match will determine the outcome.

Tony Godsick, President and CEO of TEAM8, said the Laver Cup™ would introduce a new style of team competition to the sport and immortalize a tennis icon, adding the idea had been in the works for some time.

"We are incredibly excited and proud to honor Rod Laver and, with our wonderful partners at Tennis Australia and my great friend Jorge Paulo Lemann, bring the Laver Cup™ to tennis fans around the world,” he said.

“Two years ago Roger challenged me and my partners at TEAM8 to dream big and conceive of a new event that would honor Mr. Laver and elevate the sport we all love. It seemed clear to us there was an opportunity to create a tennis competition in the spirit of golf's great global team events with the very best players in the world – intense rivals for 51 weeks of the year – playing not for themselves but for their countries and regions, and very much for their teammates. We have all seen the incredible passion and emotion this can generate among players and fans alike, and our dream is to ignite a very special tradition in tennis that will live and grow for many years to come.”

Jorge Paulo Lemann expressed his excitement about the event, and his confidence in the group bringing the Laver Cup™ to life.

“This is a very promising new concept for tennis,” he said. “I knew right away I wanted to be involved, as I have been friends with Tony, Roger and (Tennis Australia CEO) Craig Tiley for a long time and have great faith in all of them.”

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus said the Laver Cup™ would be a very welcome addition to the world tennis calendar.

"The Laver Cup™ is a great idea, long overdue in tennis. I know from many wonderful experiences with both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup how intensely compelling a team environment is for the best players in an individual sport,” he said.

“Representing your country is fantastic, but nothing brings out pride and pressure like playing for your world class teammates. It produces the highest highs and lowest lows, which is why we watch sport. I am a huge tennis fan, and I can't wait for this. I wish it started this year.”

Tennis Australia President Steve Healy said it was fitting the event was named after Rod Laver, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

“There was no question from the beginning this event would honor the incomparable Rod Laver,” he said.

“Rod is a uniquely beloved and revered figure in our game, a true sportsman and ambassador. The mention of his name evokes images of incredible athletic achievements and absolute class and dignity. That is what we want the Laver Cup™ to represent, and there is no one in the game more worthy of this enduring recognition.”

CEO of Tennis Australia and Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said the Laver Cup™ would be a great opportunity to see the world’s best tennis players compete in a unique format.

“The Laver Cup™ will attract the top ranked players, regardless of their nationality, in a true celebration of the global nature of our sport,” he said.

“The unique format of the event will offer fans the chance to see tennis superstars compete on the same team, pair up in doubles and cheer each other on from the sidelines. It’s an innovative competition and we at Tennis Australia are extremely excited to support the event from the very start and help create a long-lasting event that will become a much-anticipated staple of the tennis calendar.”