LONDON: Andy Murray has backed Roger Federer as a future Laver Cup captain after Bjorn Borg indicated the sixth edition in Vancouver next year could be his last.
Federer bade farewell to professional tennis at the tournament in London at the weekend, playing doubles alongside great rival Rafael Nadal on Friday in his final competitive match, which ended in defeat.
Team Europe suffered a 13-8 loss to Team World in the Ryder Cup-style tournament to ensure Federer, 41, was denied one final trophy but a vacancy for the captaincy will open up when Swedish great Borg steps away.
Federer, who won 20 Grand Slams in his glittering career, said he had no immediate plans after hanging up his racquet but, when asked on Sunday, said being Laver Cup captain was not on the radar.
“No plans there. Bjorn [Borg’s] doing a great job. Thomas [Enqvist] as well, supporting him all the way. It’s been great fun. Who knows, maybe one day, but we don’t have any plans so far.”
Federer has hinted that he would like to play exhibition events but has been guarded about the chances of moving into coaching at some point in the future.
“I’m sure Roger is going to stay involved in the event in some capacity and maybe one day captain the team,” Murray said. “Look, he’s great on the side [coaching]. He watches a lot of tennis, he loves the game. I think for ex-players that go into coaching, I think that’s important to sort of stay current and know a lot of the players.”
Murray made his Laver Cup debut at London’s O2 arena, joining other members of the “Big Four” — Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic in competing for Team Europe.
Murray said it had been an emotional night on Friday when Federer played alongside Nadal in what was his last match.
“Was lucky to be here and be present for Friday night,” Murray said, although he admitted when he finally decides to retire it might be a less memorable affair.
“I’m really not thinking about that right now. I certainly won’t and don’t deserve to have a send-off like that,” Murray said. “You know, Roger did deserve that night, and it was super special having all of those guys there.”
Djokovic expressed his hope that Federer would turn his hand to coaching.
“I think that Roger can offer a lot,” he said. “I mean... it’s logical to expect him to be able to share so many useful and valuable things with anybody really.
“If he ever would consider doing that, I’m sure that he’s going to bring a lot of positive things to the improvement of that player, whether male or female, in every aspect on and off the court.
“He’s undoubtedly one of the greatest players to play the game, the way he played it, with his style and effortlessness.”
Both Murray and Djokovic tasted defeats on the final day to prevent a dream finale for Federer, who watched Team World win a maiden Laver Cup by a five-point margin.
It was not the ending Federer had dreamed of in the last event of his 24-year professional career. Apart from playing his last-ever competitive match, he had sat at courtside in every match here, offering his words of wisdom and support to his team mates.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer told reporters at the end of an emotional weekend.
“I was on the team. Almost lost my voice. My hands hurt from clapping. Told Andy [Murray] in the locker room, I don’t like losing. It’s not fun. This weekend has been all over the place for me. I enjoyed it, but it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win tonight.”
Promising to attend next year’s Laver Cup in Canada, Federer said: “I’m looking forward to next year. I’ll be there too, supporting both teams from a different position.”
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022