Wrapping Up the Laver Cup

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So, there’s a lot to digest here about the Laver Cup. After spending three days straight with Team Europe and Team World, I feel like I’m leaving summer camp or high school, so let’s look at some class superlatives.

MVP: Nick Kyrgios

I know, this is unexpected, given that he was on the losing team, and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were on the other team. But, from day one, Kyrgios’ love of the big stage, and big opponents fired up his Team World colleagues. His spirited cheering for his teammates, and the raw passion he brought to the event, not to mention his own stellar play in singles and doubles, really gave the event credibility.

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Coach of the Weekend (tie): John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen John McEnroe so much in his element. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know how well his constant sideline chatter went over with his charges, but his passion for tennis and for winning was a big part of Team World’s staying power over the weekend. He was an especially good choice for the relatively young, outgoing cohort of Team World, and you have to think they will all benefit from the weekend with him over the longer term.

I know, Rafa wasn’t technically a coach, but man, was he a coach. From advising Tomas Berdych on court positioning in doubles to pumping up Roger Federer in the last singles match against Nick Kyrgios, Rafa was everywhere, and had lots of opinions to share.

Most Improved Player: John Isner

If you told me on Friday that I would be applauding John Isner’s return of serve and touch on Sunday, I would have laughed. A lot. But, a weekend with Team World, and perhaps the warmup of doubles with Jack Sock against Berdych and Cilic put him in the frame of mind to take out Rafael Nadal in straight sets. Granted, Nadal looked tired — likely from cheering and coaching all weekend, but Isner deserves the credit for stepping up.

Host With the Most: Tomas Berdych

Tennis-wise, it may not have been the Berd’s finest hour. But, to be fair, his three losses weren’t all that bad — two doubles losses in fairly hastily assembled teams against Jack Sock, and a match against Kyrgios that got away from him — he surely wanted a more triumphant performance in his home country, but he acquitted himself well both as a host and on the court.

Know When to Hold Em Award: Bjorn Borg

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A man of good hair and few words.

Badge of Courage: Jack Sock

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Like Isner, Sock played some inspired tennis all weekend — he came close to defeating Nadal on Saturday in singles, and then managed to team with Kyrgios and Isner to win two separate doubles matches, keeping Team World in contention. What’s more, he was more pumped up for these matches than he has been for anything I’ve seen him play. He’s got to bottle up some Eau de Laver Cup and take it with him all year long. He should give some to everyone on Team World.

Team Spirit Award: Team World

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The chemistry of Team World was perhaps the most unexpected development for the weekend. Their celebrations, ranging from supermodel shoots to archery to volleyball, captured the imaginations of the audience, and propelled them to mount an unlikely challenge to the stacked Team Europe on the last day. Like in The Breakfast Club, I hope they really stay friends when they go back to school on Monday.

Best Couple: Fedal, now and forever.

‘Nuff said.