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September 19, 2019
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome back to our second press conference of the afternoon with Team World, and I think they are just about ready to come on in.
So if you could welcome -- they're nearly there. They're having a team meeting in a huddle, led by Nick Kyrgios.
Are we ready, Team? Come on in, Guys. Let's go.
Ladies and gentlemen, Team World.
I'm going to get the first one underway. John, welcome to Geneva for the Laver Cup 2019. Great to have you and your team back. Have you all been settling in while you've been here?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Yeah, we've been doing great. We've been superb, and they have been taking good care of us. We are looking forward to it. This is a great event and a great format I believe for our team.
We have been very close, obviously. So close yet so far. It would be awesome this time if we're going to get over the hump, get a little luck going our way and step up.
TODD WOODBRIDGE: Nick, you love this environment, in particular, the Laver Cup, and bringing the passion and the team together.
How are you feeling going into 2019, this event?
NICK KYRGIOS: As John said, we've been so close the last two years. But I think the way we come together as a group, our chemistry is much better than Team Europe's. You know, that gives us a good shot.
Every year I think we are out there watching each other play the entire time. I know personally I enjoy seeing my teammates out there. I know these guys feed off energy, as well. I think as a group we come together.
It's a lot of fun, as well. This is definitely one of my favorite weeks of the year.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Todd.
Questions? The floor is yours. We have our first question over there.
Q. Denis, a question for you. Just curious for you, you're back here at Laver Cup, I know you're excited about the experience, but you'll be up first for Team World. Can you talk us through the different nerves that you'd have walking out and sort of the support I think that you look from your team when you walk out there to try to get that first point on the board for World?
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Yeah, definitely I think I'm more just excited more than anything to be out there back here at Laver Cup, you know, alongside this great team.
It's been a really fun week just getting along with them, practicing and all that. Yeah, hopefully I can kind of kick-start it for our team and hopefully get the first point.
For sure, it's a tough match against Dominic. I have played him once before in Montreal, and it was a tough three-set match. I'm expecting a tough battle out there.
Q. To John McEnroe. Obviously you would have been in New York. You would have seen Roger and Rafa head to head. Now next year we may know who wins more Grand Slams. What do you make of that battle as you try and find out a way to beat them this weekend? What do you make of their battle over the next...
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Well, it's historic. We are witnessing all-time greats. They keep pushing each other. That's what we are trying to do here, push each other to heights, greater heights, find another gear.
That's what they have done incredibly well. I mean, the only bad part with them is they never played there.
Q. A question to Jack. Doubles has been such a hallmark for Team World, and again, you're back again this year with that strong skill set. Are you feeling more pressure or privilege?
JACK SOCK: As a doubles specialist, I trust my, you know, my abilities out there. I played for fun I think my whole career in doubles, but obviously the pick this year was to try to use some success I have had and use the confidence I have in doubles with these guys this week.
I love playing with all of them. Obviously Shapo and I will be first-time partners tomorrow night, and then we're going to go out, just have some fun, stay relaxed. I think we play our best when we're having fun out there.
Yeah, I'm just going to use the confidence I have had over the last year, two years in doubles, and try to get us some points this weekend. It's been pretty key for us the last two years. Hopefully I can surprise the whole year and get a singles win, as well. (Laughter.)
Q. Jordan, it's been a big year for you with the way you've played. What's it like to be part of this sort of group of players?
JORDAN THOMPSON: Yeah, it's such an honor to be here. It's a massive privilege. I'm the alternate, so, you know, whatever the guys need, hitting-wise, I'll be there. I will just try and do anything for the team.
Yeah, so just happy to be here.
Q. One more question to John regarding Rafa and Roger. Since they are very close now, 20 and 19 Grand Slams, do you think whoever has more Grand Slams of both of them, of the three of them, together with Novak...
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: You know, "I don't know" is the answer. I just answered. I'm not sure anyone on this podium can answer that. Nor I don't think it's -- why don't we discuss that in a year or two? We'll have a much better idea.
We'll know that their careers have ended. At some point they're going to stop, I think. Maybe after this weekend (laughter).
They may just call it a day when we just whip their asses (laughter). Wouldn't that be incredible? That would be a surprising story. We'd like to be part of that.
Q. A question for John and for Patrick. Both of your careers you have given a lot to Davis Cup. From what you know about how the players engage with Laver Cup and the formats and how the Davis Cup is changing, which of the two events do you think has the better long-term prospects?
CAPTAIN JOHN McENROE: Davis Cup was an important part of my life and career, a chance to represent your country. This is more like the Ryder Cup, obviously. This is like a different -- they should both be able to succeed. We do have a third one.
So to me, personally, seems like we sort of went from Davis Cup, which was on life support, to this radical change, finally took place after way too long. The Laver Cup was a big success. Now they have this -- what's it called? ATP Cup. So we have three of them when it almost seemed like there was none.
So it seems like something's going to shake out. For me, personally, and I have no axe to grind other than it's awesome for me to be the captain of this team and I love that, Rod Laver was, you know, an all-time great. Roger Federer, all-time great. They've gotten their heart and soul involvement here. So to me, this should be something that should be something to survive. I'm not saying the Davis Cup -- we also have the Olympics, which didn't have before.
So all these things -- something's got to shake out. I'd like to see this be part of it. I think this is a great event for tennis.
VICE-CAPTAIN PATRICK McENROE: I'll just quickly add that Davis Cup was an amazing experience for me. Some of the guys here played Davis Cup, you know, when I was captain and brought the same passion that they bring to the Laver Cup.
I think we were all a little surprised at how the players really grasped this event when we first did it a couple years ago, how much they love it, how much the fans are into it.
Let's see what happens with the Davis Cup. I mean, our parents taught us to play for our country whenever we got the call and represent the country. So that was always really important to us.
I think that's important for all these guys up here, too. So let's see what happens with the new Davis Cup format.
Q. A question to Taylor. Your first opportunity. A few words just to describe the experience for you so far?
FRITZ TAYLOR: So far it's been great. I love just the energy of, like, being with all these guys and being around just like the team environment. I really love it. It's a great opportunity for me to be here, a privilege to be here on this team.
I'm just really excited for my match tomorrow. Hopefully, you know, get us started on day one with a win.
Q. Nick, you alluded to the team spirit amongst you guys. On paper you look to be the underdogs. Do you think that you can kind of make up that paper deficit with what you say is a better team spirit? Could you give us an example of the sort of things you have been doing to bond?
NICK KYRGIOS: You want to know everything?
No, I mean, I know for a fact that, you know, I'm closer with these guys than Europe with each other. I mean, I'm personally not scared of that team. I have beaten every single one of their members, and I know guys on my team have beaten them before, as well.
I mean, yeah, on paper we're undermanned and we're an underdog, but I don't believe that -- you know, I strongly believe that we can win. Like we have been so close the last few years. We have had match points to win the whole thing. John had match points against Federer. I had match points against Federer. We got super unlucky.
Yeah, okay, on ranking, yeah -- I think ranking is the most overrated thing ever. I strongly believe we are going to win. I mean, we are underdogs, for sure, but I sit in this chair believing -- tomorrow I think Shapo is going to go out there, and I think Thiem, honestly, he's not going to be wanting to play Shapo at all.
Q. If I may ask this in French to Denis Shapovalov. (Question in French.)
DENIS SHAPOVALOV: Can I answer in English?
Yeah, the surface is pretty quick, playing pretty fast, which is something I really like. I have had a couple of days to train on it, so I'm getting quite comfortable with it.
About the match, like I said, I played him once before and I thought I had a good chance to win that match. Obviously he's a tough competitor, but I think on fast courts like this, I do have a bit of an advantage over him.
Like I said, I have been playing good tennis from the Open, so hopefully I can kind of take that confidence with me for tomorrow.
Q. John, you mentioned yesterday the courts are playing a little fast. This goes to Nick and Milos, as well. Might we see some risk-taking on second serves?
JOHN ISNER: Yeah, I think, for sure. I mean, I'm not one that's going to want to play from the baseline with any of their team members. There is no hiding that fact.
Yeah, I mean, I think second serve is going to be very important who wins that battle, just as in any match. I think taking a risk when, you know, you have a second serve from these guys is a very good strategy.
We'll see if we can use that to the best of our ability out there. I mean, everyone we are playing against, as we all know, is incredible, you know, top 10 players. So we may have to incur a little bit more risk out there and see if the eggplant falls our way.
THE MODERATOR: Milos?
MILOS RAONIC: Well, on our serves, I think regardless of the three of us, I think even more so, not just the three of us on this team but we go for our second serves, so I don't think we consider that as a risk.
So I think we would go for our shots, and that's a part of our identities and making things more difficult for the opponents by being a bit more unpredictable.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports