First Laver Cup to be at O2 Arena

Tennis stars from Europe will face off against the rest of the world

Europe and the World will compete for the Laver Cup at Prague's O2 Arena on Sept. 22 to 24. The competition will pit a team of six European players against six players from the rest of the world.

Each team is led by a famed team captain. Bjorn Borg is captain of Team Europe, and John McEnroe is the captain of Team World.

Team Europe's players include Tomáš Berdych (Czech Republic), Rafael Nadal (Spain), Roger Federer (Switzerland), Alexander Zverev (Germany), Marin Čilić (Croatia) and Dominic Thiem (Austria).

The opposition World Team has Sam Querrey, John Isner and Jack Sock (United States), Nick Kyrgios (Australia), Juan Martín del Potro (Argentina), and Denis Shapovalov (Canada).

Among all the players, there are 55 grand slam wins.

Four of the six players qualified based on their ATP singles ranking. Two are captain’s picks.

On Friday, Sept. 22, and Saturday, Sept. 23, there will be day and nights session followed by a final day session on Sunday, Sept. 24.

This is the first year for the Laver Cup, which should be held each year except Olympic years. It will be in a different city each time.

The tournament is named after Australian tennis player Rod Laver. The new event was created by Roger Federer's management company, TEAM8, Brazilian businessman and former Davis Cup player Jorge Paulo Lemann and Tennis Australia.

Each player will play one or two singles match during the three days. At least four of the six players must play doubles.

Czech businessman and trainer Vladimír Šafařík of the firm Česká sportovní has been involved in the preparations. He previously helped organize the Davis Cup final and the Fed Cup.

"It is like watchmaking to prepare it all … because it is the biggest and most demanding event we have ever done,” Šafařík told broadcaster Czech Television Sport.

“For the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup, it's clear what to do and how to do, what the exact needs are, but this is the first year and everything is done as we go along. At first we did not know exactly how big it would be. Gradually it grew to enormous dimensions,” he said. Security for such a large event has also been a big concern.

Several hundred people have participated in the preparations. Some 27 hotels have been booked and more than 400 media representatives are accredited.

A design team from London has made the plan for the arena, and a training hall with glass walls is being created in front of O2 Arena so fans can see the players.

Tickets are still available. For more information visit lavercup.com

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