The countdown to Laver Cup Vancouver 2023 is on, and finishing touches are underway at Rogers Arena.
“We’ve got the black court out,” said Laver Cup CEO Steve Zacks on Monday. “There’s still a little bit of work to be done, but everything is on schedule and it’s going to be beautiful,” Zacks said.
The City of Vancouver floated the idea of hosting after witnessing Laver Cup Chicago 2018, Zacks said. “We saw the Rogers Arena, saw the destination, we thought it’d be a perfect place for fans to come enjoy tennis and see Vancouver,” he said. ” We love to go to new locations that don’t have tennis…we can bring all these great players out, it’s part of growing the game, inspiring new people.”
“We were tired of tennis just being on the other coast of Canada,” said Team World Vice Captain Patrick McEnroe. “For big time tennis to come here, to me, it’s overdue,” said McEnroe, describing Vancouver as an amazing city.
“With the success of Canadian tennis in the last decade or so, it made perfect sense to come here,” McEnroe added.
The event’s sixth edition gets underway Friday and Team World is in a good position to retain the Laver Cup title, which they hoisted for the first time in London last year.
“It feels like the first time when we’re not the huge underdog going in, or maybe it’s a little more even,” he said. “It’s always exciting, the matches have always been amazing but I think it adds a little different wrinkle this time that both teams go in, thinking like OK, it’s not completely one-sided when you look at the rankings where it’s been in year’s past.”
“It [was] awesome to win it last year. We’ve got quite a few of the same guys back who were instrumental in Team World winning it — Felix [Auger-Aliassime] was incredible and went on a great run after Laver Cup and I’m expecting the same thing is going to happen this year,” McEnroe said. “He’s a big part of the reason we’re here in Canada.”
The recognizable Laver Cup black court has been installed at Rogers Arena
McEnroe, who will suit up in red alongside Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo and American sensation Ben Shelton, said the event feels fresh, in part due to the number of new faces on both teams.
“[The players] love it, having the bench, everybody being together,” McEnroe said. “These guys are playing full-out, it’s very competitive. To me it has the perfect balance of being super fun, fan-friendly, all the players in one place at one time.”
“The doubles has been a highlight for the event, seeing four great players playing at the same time which normally doesn’t happen in pro tennis,” McEnroe added.
“You never know what’s going to happen, that’s what’s really exciting about it,” said Zacks. “We see what the fans enjoy and double down on that.”
Laver Cup’s team benches are a huge drawcard, Zacks said. “It’s a big part of the event, supporting each other, coaching each other during the breaks … being able to see them the whole time is part of the show.
“This year, for the very first time, people in the arena will be able to listen via their phones to the conversations that are going on in the breaks of play,” he added.
“It’s really a unique event,” said McEnroe, acknowledging the strong camaraderie within each team.
Fans can catch their first glimpse of the recognizable black court during an Open Practice session from 12pm to 2pm on Thursday.