The two men with the most Grand Slam titles in tennis history—Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer—will be among a star-studded Team Europe descending on Geneva, Switzerland next week for the Laver Cup, a team event pitting six players from Europe against six players from the rest of the world.
Fresh off his 19th career Grand Slam title at the US Open, Nadal will be playing the Laver Cup for the second time, having competed at the event in Prague in its inaugural year in 2017. The Spaniard went 2-2 at the event that year—he went 1-1 in singles, beating Jack Sock but losing to John Isner; and 1-1 in doubles, which included a memorable win with Federer against Sock and Sam Querrey.
“I’m looking forward to the Laver Cup and am very excited to be named to the team by our captain, Bjorn Borg,” Nadal said. “I’ll do my best to live up to the great performances we had in Prague.”
Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion who recently reached the 31st major final of his career at Wimbledon, has played the event every year since it began. He went 3-0 in Prague in 2017, going 2-0 in singles and 1-0 in doubles; and 2-2 in Chicago in 2018, going 2-0 in singles but 0-2 in doubles.
“We’ve all been blown away by the success of the Laver Cup, which in just two years has become so special to all the players who’ve been involved,” Federer said. “Rafa and I had a blast in Prague and it will be very special for me to team up with him again in Switzerland to try and defend our title.”
And the star power on Team World doesn’t end with Nadal and Federer. All six players on the team are ranked in the Top 11— in addition to the second-ranked Spaniard and the third-ranked Swiss, the team includes No. 5 Dominic Thiem, No. 6 Alexander Zverev, No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 11 Fabio Fognini.
Tsitsipas and Fognini will be making their Laver Cup debuts, but Thiem and Zverev have played the event before. Thiem went 1-0 in Prague in 2017, beating Isner in singles. Zverev has played both previous years, putting together a 4-1 record. He went 2-0 in 2017, winning two singles matches; and 2-1 in 2018, winning both of his singles matches but losing a doubles match alongside Federer.
“It’s so unique being on the same team as the players you are usually fighting against across the net,” Thiem said. “When we played together in Prague, Rafa and Roger cheered me on from the side of the court and gave me tactics. It was cool to have such legends of the game supporting me.”
Team Europe has conquered Team World in both previous editions of the event.
“Laver Cup is one of the most fun weeks of my year,” Zverev said. “Winning in Prague and Chicago as part of Team Europe has been unbelievable. There’s a team spirit that’s unlike any other.
“I can’t wait to get together again and defend our title.”