Alexander Zverev snatched the Laver Cup for Team Europe as he beat Canada’s Milos Raonic in the final rubber of a thrilling three days of action in Geneva’s Palexpo Arena on Sunday.
With Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, winners of 39 Grand Slam titles between them, part of the supporting bench, Zverev showed immense composure to close out a 6-4 3-6 10-4 victory and hand Bjorn Borg’s team a 13-11 overall win.
With Nadal forced out with a hand injury at the start of the day and Federer suffering a doubles defeat, it looked as though John McEnroe’s Team World would claim the title for the first time since the event began in 2017.
But after Federer defeated John Isner to close the gap, Germany’s Zverev produced a flurry of superb backhands to beat the big-serving Raonic in the final rubber of the weekend.
After crunching a forehand winner, most of the 17,000 sell-out crowd erupted and Zverev was buried under his teammates with Federer, Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Fabio Fognini celebrating a third successive victory for Europe.
It had been very tight though with the World Team leading 11-7 in the middle of the afternoon.
With three points for each rubber won on Sunday, McEnroe’s team made a great start with Jack Sock and Isner beating Federer and Tsitsipas on the charcoal-colored court.
American Taylor Fritz, in for the injured Nick Kyrgios, then extended his team’s lead by beating Dominic Thiem 7-5 6-7(3) 10-5.
It meant that if Federer lost to Isner, Team World would win the title.
But with the Swiss crowd roaring his every winner, Federer preserved his 100% singles record in the event by claiming a 6-4 7-6(3) win before settling down at courtside to offer high-caliber vocal support to Zverev.
Zverev completes Laver Cup win for Europe