ROGER FEDERER, RAFAEL NADAL TEAM UP IN DOUBLES TO GIVE EUROPEANS MASSIVE LEAD IN LAVER CUP TENNIS

Written by: on 23rd September 2017
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ROGER FEDERER, RAFAEL NADAL TEAM UP IN DOUBLES TO GIVE EUROPEANS MASSIVE LEAD IN LAVER CUP TENNIS

epa06222878 Switzerland's Roger Federer (L) and Spanish Rafael Nadal (R) of the Team Europe react during the Laver Cup tennis tournament in Prague, Czech Republic, 23 September 2017. The first Laver Cup is held in Prague, Czech Republic, from 22 to 24 September 2017. It is a three-day tournament pitting a team of the six best tennis players from Europe against six opponents from the rest of the world. The tournament has been named in honor of Australian tennis legend Rod Laver. EPA-EFE/MILAN KAMMERMAYER  |
Federer, Nadal team up in doubles to give Europeans massive lead in Laver Cup

By Ricky Dimon

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal almost always seem to live up to the hype when they go head-to-head in singles. They did it again on the same side of the net this time.

Playing doubles with each other for the first time ever, Federer and Nadal defeated Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 at the inaugural Laver Cup on Saturday night. The victory by the two all-time greats inside Prague’s O2 Arena gave Team Europe a 9-3 lead over Team World heading into the last four matches on Sunday.

With each remaining match counting three points, Team World still has a mathematical chance to win. It can do so by winning all four on Sunday, or by winning three and then taking what would be a tiebreaking doubles showdown. The Europeans need only a split of the four matches to lift the cup with their current six-point cushion in hand.

A victory by Querrey and Sock would have left the proceedings at a far more competitive 7-5 heading into the final day, but Federer and Nadal had other ideas. The Swiss-Spanish duo broke early in the opening set and maintained the advantage the rest of the way. After dropping the second set, Federer and Nadal righted the ship quickly in the ensuing 10-point tiebreaker. Sock missed a volley to give away one mini-break and he lost serve again at 1-4 with a double-fault.

It ended with Federer ripping forehands at Querrey, who eventually missed a volley.

“For me, personally, it is a great moment,” the 36-year-old assured. “We only ever practiced once together, back at the World Tour Finals–so we don’t show each other a lot. We will always be rivals, but this was something very special. It was an absolute pleasure being on the court with Rafa and seeing his decision-making process.
“I understand that people only expect a win from us, but it’s very complicated. We’re playing indoors against the big servers, and I hadn’t played doubles for so long, I was trying to remember what to do.
“The two of us getting together, our two fan groups having to get together…that was interesting, too. It was a success, but this isn’t just about us. The celebration of Rod Laver and having John (McEnroe) and Bjorn (Borg) there overrides the doubles, but this was still an important moment for us.”
“It was an unforgettable day,” Nadal agreed. “After the history behind us to be on the same part of the court fighting for the team is something we enjoyed a lot.”
Tennis fans’ may have enjoyed the highly-anticipated doubles pairing even more. So did fellow players.

“Everyone was waiting for this moment since they announced this event is going to happen,” Europe’s Tomas Berdych commented. “This is the time. So I think it’s almost like a celebration of tennis.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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