Federers Baby misst sich mit dem grossen Bruder

Der vierte Vergleich zwischen Europa und dem Rest der Welt steigt zeitgleich mit seinem grossen Vorbild, dem Ryder-Cup der Golfer.

© Foto: Matthew J. Lee (Getty Images) Diesen Pokal hätte er gern: John McEnroe mit dem Laver-Cup bei einer Werbeveranstaltung für die vierte Austragung, die von Freitag bis Sonntag in Boston steigt. Bisher siegten immer die Europäer.

John McEnroe war noch nie ein Mann der leisen Töne. Und so trifft es sich gut, dass er als Captain des Teams «Rest der Welt» versucht, den Laver-Cup so gut wie möglich anzuheizen und ihm Bedeutung zu verleihen. Dass er dies nicht ganz umsonst macht, versteht sich: Als zartes Pflänzchen in der rauen Tenniswelt ist der erst zum vierten Mal stattfindende Vergleich, der von Roger Federer und seinem Geschäftspartner Tony Godsick mit hohen Ambitionen ausgeheckt wurde, auf jede Hilfe angewiesen. Und an potenten Geldgebern fehlt es dem Anlass nicht, gerade aus der Schweiz, die zwei der drei wichtigsten Sponsoren stellt. Zudem steht der mit Federer befreundete Milliardär Jorge Paulo Lemann hinter dem Laver-Cup.

Nach Prag 2017, Chicago 2018 und Genf 2019 steigt die im vergangenen Jahr pandemiebedingt verschobene vierte Austragung von Freitag bis Sonntag im TD Garden von Boston. Dabei ist die Konstellation so herausforderungsreich wie noch nie zuvor: Erstmals fehlt Roger Federer, und zudem sind auch weder Rafael Nadal noch Novak Djokovic am Start. Dennoch stehen alle Mitglieder im Team von Björn Borg in den Top 10 – und sind damit alle besser klassiert als die Nummer 1 von McEnroes Mannschaft, die bisher alle drei Austragungen verloren hat: US-Open-Sieger Daniil Medwedew, Paris-Finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, Olympiasieger Alexander Zverev, Andrei Rublew, Matteo Berrettini sowie der Norweger Casper Ruud, der inzwischen auf Rang 10 vorgerückt ist.

McEnroe hofft auf das Publikum

Er könne den Laver-Cup jeweils kaum erwarten, sagt der 62-jährige McEnroe, für den Rod Laver schon in der Jugend ein Idol war. Der 83-jährige Australier, der zweimal den Grand Slam gewann, ist auch dieses Jahr wieder dabei und sichtlich stolz auf den Wettbewerb, der nun erstmals genau zeitgleich mit seinem grossen Vorbild ausgetragen wird: dem Ryder-Cup der Golfer, deren Duell sich auf die besten Spieler der USA und Europas beschränkt und dessen 43. Austragung am Freitag in Kohler, Wisconsin, beginnt. Er überstrahlt den Laver-Cup, was Bedeutung, Bekanntheit und Tradition betrifft, um Meilen.

© Foto: Carmen Mandato (Getty Images) Stolzer Namensgeber: Der 83-jährige Australier Rod Laver bewirbt in Boston den Laver-Cup.

«Wir standen schon sehr nahe am Sieg, und mein Plan ist, dass wir es mit dem Adrenalinschub der Zuschauer diesmal über die Ziellinie schaffen», sagt McEnroe. Seine bestklassierten Spieler sind die Kanadier Félix Auger-Aliassime und Denis Shapovalov, der Argentinier Diego Schwartzman sowie die zwei Amerikaner Reilly Opelka und John Isner, alle zwischen den Rängen 11 und 22 klassiert. Dazu kommt der Australier Nick Kyrgios (ATP 95), den McEnroe per Wildcard ins Team holte. Gespielt werden am Freitag, Samstag und Sonntag jeweils drei Einzel und ein Doppel, wobei die Siege jeden Tag mehr Punkte abwerfen. Eurosport überträgt dieses Jahr live.

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