Tiafoe handed Team World to first Laver Cup title

Tiafoe handed Team World to first Laver Cup title

Frances Tiafoe returned in the singles final to win over Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6 7-6(11) 10-8, giving Team World their first Laver Cup title and ending Team Europe’s run of four straight European victories since the Laver Cup was inaugurated in 2017. Earlier, Tiafoe and his partner Jack Sock beat retiring tennis legend Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 11-9.

“It is an unbelievable feeling,” Tiafoe said in his on-court interview. “It wasn’t just me but I showed a lot of heart to get this done. I was getting my ass kicked for a while but I kept going. This is big, we’re going to celebrate big tonight.” Tsitsipas dominated the first set, but Tiafoe roared back against the veteran player to give John McEnroe’s Team World a 13-8 unassailable lead with a match to spare.

Team World started the final day with Auger-Aliassime, partnered with Sock won 2-6, 6-3, 10-8 against Briton Andy Murray and Italian Matteo Berrettini before Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime stunned 21-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic 6-3, 7-6 (3). Tsitsipas had a chance to force the match into a deadlock singles match, but Tiafoe sealed another three points enough for an early win for the team.

Earlier in the competition, an emotional Roger Federer bids goodbye to professional tennis following a loss in a doubles match by the hands of the Tiafoe and Sock duo, ending his 24-year-career alongside fellow great Rafael Nadal. The Swiss tennis legend, who has won 20 Grand Slam titles in his career, has announced ahead of the competition that he will retire after playing in the event.

Tiafoe and Sock beat Federer and Nadal as Team World leveled at 2-2 at the end of the opening day. Team Europe’s duo had a match point at 9-8 in the decider, but Federer lunged for a forehand which sailed into the net to give the Americans a 10-9 lead. Sock served for the match on match point, and after a lengthy rally he ended it with a forehand winner to the corner.

Federer’s great rival and his last doubles partner Nadal were in tears as he sat next to him at the end of the match. Federer’s last Grand Slam title came at the 2018 Australian Open, while his last competitive match was a quarter-final defeat against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz at the 2021 Wimbledon. “It’s been a wonderful day. I told the guys I’m happy; I’m not sad,” Federer said during his on-court speech.

“It’s been the perfect journey. I’d do it all again,” Federer added. The Swiss icon bagged a total of 103 titles on tour–second to Jimmy Connors–one Olympic doubles gold medal for Switzerland and 20 Grand Slam singles titles trail only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who own 21 and 22 titles, respectively. Federer held the No. 1 ranking for 237 consecutive weeks—the longest streak in history.

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