Djokovic in team Europe squad as pressure mounts to allow Serb play in America
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray will play together for the first time for Team Europe at the Laver Cup in London.
Reigning Wimbledon champion, Djokovic, was named as the fourth member of the six-man Team Europe, yesterday, with the 35-year-old Serb joining his long-time rivals for the fifth edition of the ATP event held in September 23 to 25.
Named after Australian great, Rod Laver, the three-day team event pits six of Europe’s top players against six from the rest of the world. “It’s the only competition where you can play in a team environment with guys that you’re normally competing against and to be joining three of my biggest all-time rivals, it’s going to be a truly unique moment in the history of our sport,” Djokovic said.
Djokovic, Nadal and Federer especially have dominated men’s tennis over the last two decades, winning 63 Grand Slam titles between them.
Nadal holds the men’s record of 22 slam titles while Djokovic, who played in the second edition of the Laver Cup in 2018, has 21 slams.
London’s O2 Arena, which hosted the men’s season-ending ATP Finals from 2009 to 2020, will stage the cup with Team Europe, captained by Bjorn Borg, having won all the previous editions. Team World captain, John McEnroe, has named Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz and Diego Schwartzman as three members of his team.
Meanwhile, fans of the sports have continued to mount pressure on the United States to allow Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, to play in next month’s US open.
The country’s rules currently state that unvaccinated foreigners cannot enter the U.S even though unvaccinated Americans can not only enter the U.S but also play at the last slam of the year, a situation fans describe as ‘senseless and ludicrous’.
A petition to allow the Serbian play, which has been trending on social media has garnered roughly 40, 000 signatures as at today with many high-profile celebrities and stakeholders lending their voices to the issue.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.