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September 21, 2017
Prague, Czech Republic
EUROPE vs. THE WORLD
Prague, Czech Republic
An interview with:
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. John, you have seen plenty of innovations and plenty of projects in your time. What makes you think this one is going to be a success?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, the idea, to me, is some form of Ryder Cup thing, and I think that obviously with Rod Laver, who is a legend, my idol and many others', and Roger Federer being involved, I think that already gives it a great chance of success.
I like the idea of what we are seeing, you know, bringing the best of the best together. I think we are all excited and hopeful that this is going to be successful and force some people to take a good, hard look at the rest of the schedule, too, with Davis Cup, for example, you know, which is such a big commitment that they need to make some changes.
Q. What was your thinking on opening day lineup? Obviously one point versus two and three the next couple of days. What was your thinking there?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Well, I think that the thinking was that we have some great young talent and some energy to get them started, and John is the type of guy that can take the racquet out of anyone's hands and try to get everyone as involved and sort of play it by ear.
Then the second day when there is, you know, more points at stake, we up the ante. Sam has been playing great. Nick is extremely dangerous. This court would suit Jack. That was the idea behind it.
Q. A question for Nick and Denis. You both beat Nadal this last summer. Was that a big achievement? That's good to know for your team before the weekend, before probably playing against Rafa? Can you just both comment on how good Rafa is playing right now and how it's still possible to beat him?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, well, definitely that was a huge achievement for me to beat Rafa, but from the Rogers Cup, I mean, he's been playing great tennis obviously with the Open. It's a new week. It's going to be difficult to beat him, but I definitely think we have players on this team that are more than capable of doing it.
NICK KYRGIOS: Yeah, I mean, it gives -- I mean, I played him when I was making my first run at Wimbledon. Yeah, I played him a couple times now, and I just think my game matches up pretty well against him.
You know, he's obviously playing pretty easy and he's in pretty good form, obviously winning the US Open. I think anyone on this team on a certain day can beat him, especially on a surface like this. Everyone on our team has got a big serve, plays big. That type of tennis is pretty dangerous to beat Rafa. Yeah, biscuits and gravy (smiling).
Q. John, you sounded quite passionate there in your comments for the Davis Cup. Is that part of the motivation for getting involved with something like this, to show tennis a kind of a team event without taking too much out of the players?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Yeah. I think you guys have been around a long time, and so you know that I have had a lot of history with Davis Cup.
But I believe that they have been very slow in doing anything different, and so maybe this will push it along. Hopefully they both can do well, but I like the idea of this event quite a bit.
You know, I'm an outsider looking in, not playing, but you have to ask the players what they think. But I believe that this is something that hopefully will be something that will be a big boost for tennis. The Laver Cup, I think this could be an incredible thing.
Q. Can I ask, when Juan dropped out, did you think of Kevin Anderson, given that he just made the US Open final?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Of course, yeah. Kevin was unavailable. Certainly we discussed and had the idea of -- you know, Frances was someone I was interested in. I think he has great potential. He's had a big improvement. I mean, you can't not take a look at Kevin after what he did at the Open.
Q. Just to follow up, obviously you're familiar with the Ryder Cup. I mean, do you think it will be a challenge for this event to kind of replicate the real sort of visceral desire to win that is so evident at the Ryder Cup and the players having the real passion that they want to get the victory as they do in that competition?
CAPTAIN McENROE: I think that's a great question, and it's something I believe can and will happen. Ultimately, that's going to be up to the players. You have to ask the players that. Again, I'm proud to be part of this, but, you know, that's going to be something that remains to be seen. But I'm confident.
Q. Nick, you have spoken passionately about a team environment. What's it been like for you so far? How similar or different is it to any of the other team events you have been in?
NICK KYRGIOS: Well, obviously, you know, I don't know how the next three days are going to play out, but I feel like we're all taking the practices very seriously. You know, we're all wanting to win, definitely wanting to win. You know, I think everyone wants to win.
I think it's pretty serious. I'm going to take it 100% seriously. I want to win, for sure. But comparing it to Davis Cup, I don't think we can compare it, you know, as yet. We haven't seen how it's played out.
But at this stage, you know, I think it's far from, you know, IPTL, what I played, it's far from Hopman Cup. It's a lot more serious than those two events. I think moving forward it's going to be a very competitive event.
Q. John Isner, could you talk about John McEnroe's comments and how you feel about the event, with all your Davis Cup experience, and what it means to be part of the Team World? It's kind of a vague concept maybe, but how you feel about it in inside.
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, it's sort of a, I guess for us, a reverse of kind of like maybe the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, whereas it's the U.S. versus -- in the Ryder Cup, for instance, it's Europe, and the Presidents Cup, it's the world. Now it's Europe, who has dominated tennis for the last, I don't know how many so years. I mean, just look at the team we're up against. So the concept is very cool, as John said, as well. It's just got a nice ring to it, "The Laver Cup." Sounds cool.
All the players have come here and committed to it. Again, as Nick said, as well, we don't know what it's going to be like until we get out there, but I could say I'm pretty certain we're all going to be fired up and wanting to win. We're not going to treat it like an exhibition match or anything like that. This is real-life tennis and there is a lot on the line.
So it's also the first time that this event has happened. All of us have a great honor to go out there and put on a good show.
Q. You are the underdogs, but you have great young guns in the team. Do you think that maybe in five years' time the Team World will be favorites against Europe?
CAPTAIN McENROE: Yes (smiling). I think we have a lot of hope, and this is very exciting. The format -- whoever is the underdog, obviously we are this year, this is a format that helps the underdog. Best-of-three sets with only a tiebreaker in the third set.
So because of that, that makes it more unpredictable. I'm excited from the standpoint this year of being an underdog that that helps our chances.
Q. Sam, could you talk about what John Isner did, as well, your point of view on all that?
SAM QUERREY: Yeah, no one knows what the event will be like yet, but everyone is excited, really optimistic. You know, our team, their team, everyone seems fired up.
It's a great concept. You know, we all are hoping this lasts and works out. It will be here for years to come. It will become more competitive each year. We will have an event, you know, kind of like a stigma around it like the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in the future.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports