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Nadal and Federer lead Europe in inaugural Laver Cup

Updated: 2017-09-21 09:36

Nadal and Federer lead Europe in inaugural Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds the trophy after defeating Kevin Anderson of South Africa during US Open men's final in New York, US, Sept 10, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

PRAGUE - Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will set aside their long-time rivalry when they play for Europe against the rest of the world in the inaugural Laver Cup tournament which starts on Friday.

Team Europe, featuring the world's top two players, are overwhelming favorites to win the three-day tournament, which is named after Australian great Rod Laver, with a squad boasting a combined 36 grand slam titles against one for Team World.

The teams are captained by Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, whose own rivalry starting in the 1970s featured a contrast in temperament and style that made their matches the kind of must-watch events that Laver Cup organizers hope to showcase.

"I've been watching these guys play for so many years, it's going to be a fun weekend," Borg, now 61, told reporters on Wednesday. "But make no mistake, we are here to win."

Conceived by Federer and his sports management company Team 8, the tournament is the latest to join a crowded calendar and comes on the heels of the Davis Cup semi-finals last week.

World number two Federer played down the impact of another event, saying matches over a short period were manageable and gave players on the two teams the chance to build camaraderie.

"I don't think it's too much otherwise all the players wouldn't be here," the Swiss great told a news conference.

"The best (players) in the world are very picky in what (tournaments) they play, which (is why it) is great they made this a priority."

"(We're) looking forward to making friendships because we play together and not against each other for a change."

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