Fognini picked for Laver Cup’s Team Europe

For the first time in the brief history of the Laver Cup, Fabio Fognini has been selected to the squad for Team Europe.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal already were announced for the third edition of the event. It will be held Sept. 20-22 at the Palexpo in Geneva.

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Added to that, it was announced Friday, are Fognini (currently ranked a career high No. 10) and young returnees Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev.

Here’s the press-release quote from Fognini. (He probably, maybe, said … something along these lines? It’s an art).

“Playing as part of a team is special in tennis, where we are more used to having a one-on-one battle every match. I’m looking forward to competing alongside all the great players on Team Europe.”

Fognini, a longtime stalwart in Davis Cup for Italy, should add some spice to Team Europe. So far, that crew has been pretty staid compared to its “Team World” opponents.

In theory, the Laver Cup selections are done partly by ranking. Although the concept looks pretty fluid and there are always late pullouts.

Thiem, Zverev and Fognini appear to be the three picks selected by ranking, which were to be announced at the end of the French Open.

Fognini

Of course, Federer and Nadal are ranked ahead of them. But perhaps they theoretically are captain’s Bjorn Borg’s picks.

Who for Team World?

It’s early still. But the top-ranked players eligible to play for Team World are as follows: Kei Nishikori (No. 7), Kevin Anderson (No. 8), John Isner (No. 11), Juan Martin del Potro (No. 12), Milos Raonic (No. 18) and … Félix Auger-Aliassime (No. 21).

Fognini over Tsitsipas, Khachanov

It’s a six-man squad. So one spot remains on Team Europe, as another top player (hopefully) will join up before the event begins.

These picks obviously mean that Novak Djokovic remains a non-starter. The world No. 1 said right at the beginning of the season that he “wasn’t sure” if he would play, after competing in Chicago last fall for the first time.

Looks like Djokovic still isn’t sure. But the president of the Player Council did endorse the move to make the Laver Cup “part of the ATP Tour calendar”, which happened just before the French Open.

His official quote:

“The Laver Cup is a true celebration of tennis that is loved by the fans and embraced by the players. I experienced it first hand as a player, and as President of the ATP Player Council I’m proud to support this collaboration.”

They also mean that Stefanos Tsitsipas and Karen Khachanov, who are ranked ahead of Fognini, took a pass.

Counting in the head to head

Notable in that new collaboration between the exhibition event and the ATP Tour is that matches played now appear in the official ATP Tour head-to-heads between players.

Well, the 2017 singles matches are there, so far. You’d expect the results from 2018 to get in there eventually. Here is the relevant part of Federer’s 2017 results record, and his head-to-head against Nick Kyrgios.

Fognini

Fognini

This has, as you might imagine, caused quite a bit of consternation given the event is by invitation only and. And, for example, European players will never meet each other.

It’s also an exhibition, which doesn’t distribute any ATP Tour points.

That’s true of the Olympics as well, of course.

But that’s … the Olympics. 

Rest assured that if ever Tennis.Life is mentioning head-to-head record in any story, we will filter out the Laver Cup matches. Perhaps we’ll create a second “head-to-head” category that also includes the (late, great) Hopman Cup, the Abu Dhabi exhibition and wherever else the men might happen to play each other in controlled circumstances, for money.

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