The first edition of the Laver Cup was held this weekend in Prague, and to say it was a success is an understatement.
From the first day, we could see players giving it all for their team, both on court and in the stands, to try and clinch the win. There was drama, there were hot shots, there was great play.
If Europe ended up champions with a 15-9 victory over the World, the winner, in the end, was tennis itself.
A historical doubles
One of the most important moments of the weekend was, without a doubt, the historical doubles pairing of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Not only did the current top duo of the ATP played together for the first time, they also won their match.
It was well worth the entrance fee to watch them play together, and enjoying every minute of it.
The win? A huge bonus, both for their team and for the public, be it in the packed O2 Arena or at home.
Theirs is a pairing that we would like to see again. However, neither of them sees that happening again in the near future, much to our dismay.
Drama, team spirit, effort: everything to silence the critics
If we want to be completely honest, the first edition of the Laver Cup could have gone two ways: the way it did, or the way other exhibitions do. The answer was in the hands of the players and how they would approach it.
They did it with great serious, as if it were a tournament with ranking points, rather than as yet another hit and giggles event. And the crowd loved it!
From every player giving everything they had, and often more, to the teams on the benches, cheering or, like Team World, doing college sports inspired celebrations, everyone showed their competitive spirit in the most serious way.
For instance, in the last match, we could see Rafa Nadal biting his nails, motioning to the crowd to get more involved at critical moments, cheering, screaming himself hoarse, fist pumping and vamossing as he does on court. The same went for the rest of the team. At the end, Nick Kyrgios did not pretend, either. He was gutted, and his genuine tears were there to show it.
They all wanted the win.
This commitment from everyone is a big reason why the first edition of the Laver Cup was a great success. Should it continue that way, the event will end up becoming a fixture in the tennis calendar, regardless of what all its critics may say. We will have part of that answer next year, when the event moves to Chicago.