Djokovic shines in his return to action at the Laver Cup
After dominating Frances Tiafoe in his first match since winning Wimbledon in July, Novak Djokovic joined up with Matteo Berrettini to put Team Europe in control of the Laver Cup on Saturday, September 24. This victory put Team Europe in the driver’s seat to win the competition.
Djokovic made his comeback to competition the day after his heartbreaking farewell match partnering Rafa Nadal, and he did so in enthralling manner in front of a sold-out crowd at the O2 Arena. Roger Federer was in attendance to watch the action.
Tiafoe, who reached the semifinals of the US Open, was unable to stop the onslaught of Djokovic, who won the match 6-1, 6-3, to give Bjorn Borg’s Team Europe a 6-4 lead over the rest of the competition.
After that, he teamed up with Berrettini, the player he had defeated in the final of the 2020 Wimbledon tournament, and they defeated Team World’s Jack Sock and Alex De Minaur in straight sets, 7-5 and 6-2, to give Team Europe an 8-4 lead going into Sunday’s last four matches.
On Friday, individual matches were worth one point, on Saturday and Sunday they were for two points, and on Sunday they were worth three points. To take home the trophy, you’ll need to accumulate thirteen points.
The second day of the tournament may have been a letdown after Roger Federer’s emotionally draining match in the finals the night before, but the caliber of the tennis played plus the fact that the Swiss great was on the coaching staff insured that it was an excellent show.
Berrettini, who entered the singles competition in lieu of Federer, won a hard-hitting match against Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada by a score of 7-6(11), 4-6, 10-7. Federer had previously won a total of 20 Grand Slam titles.
But the United States’ Taylor Fritz prevailed in a close match against the United Kingdom’s Cameron Norrie, who was filling in for Rafael Nadal, who had to leave earlier in the day for personal reasons. With this victory, Fritz brought Team World even at 4-4.
After being defeated 14-1 in Boston the previous year, John McEnroe’s Team World demonstrated that they are made of sterner stuff this year by winning 6-1, 4-6, and 10-8 under Fritz’s leadership.
While watching every ball with the rest of his teammates on Team Europe, including Andy Murray, Federer did his best to encourage Norrie by sharing some words of wisdom with him.
At one point, Federer advised the eighth-ranked player in the world to serve and volley. Norrie dutifully followed Federer’s advice, but he ended up losing the point because Fritz sent a lob over his head.
“There is no chance I’m not going to do it, especially out there playing for Team Europe,” Norrie said later after the match. “If Roger Federer is telling you to do something, there is no chance I’m not going to do it.”