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Team World dominated Team Europe to win back-to-back Laver Cup titles.

Well that escalated quickly.

Team World thrashed Team Europe in the sixth edition of the Laver Cup, 13-2.

Put another way, they only lost one match.

Put another way, they only lost three sets.

Put another way:

Team World won the first four matches on Friday and never looked back. Casper Ruud secured Team Europe’s only win on Saturday, and then it was all over after the first match on Sunday, a 7-6(4), 7-6(5) doubles victory by Shelton/Tiafoe over Rublev/Hurkacz.

Team Europe was hampered by the late withdrawals of worlds No. 4 and 5 Holger Rune and Stefanos Tsitsipas, but their participation may not have been enough to reverse the outcome anyway. Team World simply appeared to want it more. And they had better chemistry.

That isn’t a surprise, as the mostly American lineup arrived with years of chemistry baked in.

Ben Shelton, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Taylor Fritz, and Christopher Eubanks all just finished a heavy media circuit two weeks ago in New York during the US Open, where virtually the only questions they were asked were about the state of men’s tennis in the United States. Well, it’s looking pretty good, actually.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic, and Francisco Cerundolo rounded out the team and were quickly welcomed into the fold.

Captain John McEnroe and his brother and vice captain Patrick kept the fellas loose and energized, but truthfully they didn’t have to do much. The players brought the energy on their own, especially Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe, who both contributed three wins each, including the clincher as a doubles tandem.

Team Europe never seemed to gel. It didn’t help that Gael Monfils tried to treat the event like a pure exhibition while everyone else wanted to win. He actually argued about it in his match with Felix Auger-Aliassime, even tanking the final game of the first set.

Monfils has been known to do that throughout his career, which is fine when you’re only harming yourself. But when you tank matches in a team competition, that kills morale. We’ll never know how they handled it internally, but it probably soured Team Europe’s cohesion.

Either way, their chemistry never fully materialized. Granted, it is much easier to bond when you’re winning, and Team Europe never had that for fuel.

Still, even with a chance to win on Sunday thanks to the event’s purposeful scoring format, Team Europe looked mostly downtrodden on the bench.

Rublev and Hurkacz played well. They never lost serve, in fact.

But they didn’t have much of a cheering section, even when they won some big and exciting points in their quest to spark a comeback. Their only cheerleaders seemed to be youngster Arthur Fils and vice captain Thomas Enqvist. The others couldn’t be bothered to stand up.

Meanwhile, Team World was all smiles, high fives and chestbumps throughout the weekend, and the wins just kept coming. Those things are all closely related. Team sports are about group cohesion. If you don’t have it, you don’t win.

Team World had it.

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Looking Ahead

This is actually a terrific result for the Laver Cup as a franchise. As it works to build tradition in its early history, it needed Team World to land a few blows after being flattened by Team Europe the first four years.

Now Team World has two titles, closing the gap to 4-2 in favor of Team Europe.

The event itself was a great success. Vancouver was a stellar host city—hard to go wrong with all its natural beauty.

The fans came out in big numbers and looked beautiful bathed in Laver Cup’s trademark red and blue lighting. Celebrities were in attendance like NBA Hall of Famers Dirk Nowitski and Steve Nash, a few members of Coldplay, and of course Roger Federer and the event’s namesake Rod Laver.

Most importantly, everyone had fun. The fans and the players—even Team Europe—clearly enjoyed the entire weekend despite the lopsided result.

Next year the event heads back to European soil, where Berlin will host.

How might things change a year from now?

Expect Alexander Zverev to compete on his home soil. Maybe Carlos Alcaraz finally makes his debut. Perhaps a healthy Nick Kyrios will be back in the mix. Novak Djokovic could tag himself back in. And what about Rafael Nadal? Might he sneak in one final Laver Cup in his farewell year on tour?

All in due time. See you in Berlin.

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