From the news

Team Europe take early lead in Laver Cup after Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem strike first blows

  • ontennis
  • 22 September 2017
  • 11:09

Team Europe claimed victory in the first two matches against Team World at the inaugural Laver Cup to take an early advantage in Prague on Friday afternoon.

Marin Cilic of Croatia and Dominic Thiem of Austria beat America's Frances Tiefoe and John Isner respectively.

Cilic secured a 7-6, 7-6 win over Tiefoe while Thiem edged past his American opponent in a closely contested affair that saw the ‘Champions’ tiebreaker utilised following their 6-7, 7-6 stalemate. The 24-year-old European won that by 10 points to eight.

Speaking afterwards, Thiem said that he had felt more pressure than when competing as an individual: “The stadium was packed and I was maybe a bit more nervous because the players are also responsible for the team, and on the tour, if you lose, it's fine, it's only for yourself.”

The non-playing members watched on from the sidelines, cheering their teammates on in support throughout the afternoon.

Team World looked a tighter bunch in comparison to their European rivals, five of them being from North America and the other being Australia’s Nick Kyrgios.

John McEnroe, captain of Team World, struck a composed figure on the side, while his counterpart Bjorn Borg claimed to have suffered from nerves on the big occasion.

“I think I was more nervous today than when I was playing, because when you play you have control,” he said.

“For me, it's a new experience to be a captain in a team. They asked me several times in Sweden to be the Davis Cup captain but I said no. When they asked me to be a captain for Team Europe, I said yes immediately. It's an honour.”

The Laver Cup will be won by the first team to amass 12 points over the course of three days.

Friday's evening session sees Alexander Zverev take on Denis Shapovalo before Tomas Berdych and Rafael Nadal, representing Europe, face off against Kyrgios and Jack Sock, of Team World, in the doubles action.

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