Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have new Laver Cup opponent

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Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will have a new threat to contend with at Laver Cup later this year. American doubles specialist Jack Sock has joined Team World amid high praise from captain John McEnroe, who has backed him to pull off ‘upsets’ in London.

Fans should be treated to a spectacle of tennis in September with the ‘Big Three’ and Murray all in action. A staggering haul of 66 Grand Slam titles between the quartet dwarfs that of their younger opponents, who are yet to begin their collection. 

Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz, world No 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime and former French Open semi-finalist Diego Schwartzman will be joined by Sock at the O2. The 29-year-old is currently outside the world’s top 100 in singles but has four Grand Slam doubles titles and an Olympic medal. 

“Jack is a versatile and supportive team player who relishes the fast-paced, exciting atmosphere at Laver Cup,” said McEnroe, who will captain the team in September. 

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“I don’t want to be the doctor but what I hope for him is to able to have a great rehab this summer, play some in the fall and give a nice shot at 2023, and then see what happens.

“Could he add a tournament before then? Maybe yes, but more likely after that. He doesn’t want to commit to anything too soon before having to pull out… But the Laver Cup is enough time that, if all goes well with rehab events, he can get back for.”

“He’s one of the best doubles players in the world, and in singles, he’s capable of pulling off huge upsets as we saw in Geneva. He brings out the best with whomever he teams with in doubles and can handle the intense pressure. It’s no secret that he could be key to pulling off an upset in London.”

Sock is similarly optimistic, stating: “Laver Cup brings out the best in me, and I can’t wait to get out there again with the guys and play my part for Captain McEnroe. I missed playing last year, I just love this event and I’m hoping I can again bring home the points for Team World.”

For many, Federer’s return to action will be the main attraction at Laver Cup next month. The Swiss has had a prolonged absence from competitive tennis while undergoing three procedures on his right knee and the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who turns 41 next week, will hope to play a key role in the competition he helped to create. 

“He won’t rush back this time,” his agent, Tony Godsick, told the Evening Standard back in May. “He will have to be 100 per cent and know he’s 100 per cent and that’s why he’s taking his time doing heavy rehab and training. It’s not just when the knee feels good but building up the muscles and getting lungs back. I know he’s encouraged where he is.

“I don’t want to be the doctor but what I hope for him is to be able to have a great rehab this summer, play some in the fall and give a nice shot at 2023, and then see what happens.

“Could he add a tournament before then? Maybe yes, but more likely after that. He doesn’t want to commit to anything too soon before having to pull out… But the Laver Cup is enough time that, if all goes well with rehab events, he can get back for.”

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