The inaugural Laver Cup competition is set to begin on Friday, and this is an excellent chance for fans to see some of the game’s best players performing in a rather unusual setting.
This event will pit players from Europe against those from the rest of the world, with six men representing each side.
Five of the ATP Top 10 players will be out there for the Laver Cup, as Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem will all be competing for Team Europe.
Given the accomplishments of this quintet—plus former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych—the talent on Team Europe might seem insurmountable for Team World. But while singles matches are going to matter plenty in the Laver Cup, doubles matches will also be extremely important. In fact, the two teams are actually pretty evenly matched when playing with partners.
Here is a look at how the 12 Laver Cup competitors have fared in their doubles careers:
Nadal is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in singles, but he is no slouch when it comes to doubles either. Rafa is 131-72 in doubles matches in his career, and that includes a 13-5 record since the start of 2016.
Nadal is no stranger to international doubles competition, as he is 5-4 in his Davis Cup doubles career. He won his only match this year, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, against Saketh Myneni and Leander Paes. Nadal was playing with Marc Lopez in that match, and the two helped Spain defeat India, 5-0.
The last time Nadal competed in doubles at a Grand Slam was at Wimbledon in 2005. He was playing with Feliciano Lopez in that tournament, and the two of them withdrew before their Round of 32 match.
Federer has been a fantastic doubles player for most of his career, going 129-89 with eight titles. He has not played a doubles match since 2015, however, when he went 0-3. There could very well be some rust when he takes the court in Prague.
Federer has played 22 Davis Cup matches for Switzerland, going 12-10. He played with Marco Chiudinelli in his most recent rubber, losing, 7-6, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, to Thiemo de Bakker and Matwe Middelkoop (Netherlands).
Federer last played in a Grand Slam doubles tournament at the 2004 Australian Open. He and Yves Allegro lost, 6-4, 6-4, to Andre Sa and Flavio Saretta in the Round of 64. In doubles, Federer has never advanced further than the quarterfinal in Grand Slam doubles action.
Cilic is 77-84 with no titles in his doubles career, but two things he has going for him are that he is a big server and will be playing with far more talented players than he is used to.
Cilic has fared much better in doubles when playing international competition. He is 9-6 in Davis Cup, including a 4-0 record since the start of 2016. Cilic most recently helped Croatia defeated Colombia, 4-1, in the World Group Play-offs. He and Nikola Mektic won their match, 5-7, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
Thiem just might be the weakest doubles players on Team Europe’s roster. The 24-year-old is a lousy 23-52 in his doubles career, and that includes a 2-10 record in 2017.
Thiem has played in only three doubles matches in his Davis Cup career, and he is just 1-2 in those rubbers. He and Philipp Oswald most recently lost, 7-6, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, against Nicolae Frunza and Horia Tecau in the Group 1 quarterfinal. It was the only match Austria lost in a 4-1 victory in the tie against Romania.
Zverev is just 22-26 in his doubles career, but he is 10-9 with one title in 2017. He and his brother, Mischa, won the Open Sud de France in February, defeating Fabrice Martin and Daniel Nestor in the final, 6-4, 6-7, 10-7.
At the Grand Slam and Davis Cup level, Zverev is 0-2. One might be able to say that he lacks significant experience in big doubles matches, but the 24-year-old should get up for this ocassion.
Berdych’s 103-109 record in his doubles career leaves a lot to be desired, but the 32-year-old is actually a fantastic doubles player.
Where Berdych has really thrived in doubles is in Davis Cup action, where he is a ridiculous 21-2 in his career. That’s something to keep an eye on, as Berdych clearly thrives when playing with a partner in international competition.
Sock just might be the best doubles player in this entire competition. The 24-year-old American is 111-57 with eight titles in his doubles career. None of those victories came this year, but Sock is one of the few successful singles players on tour that can say he won a Grand Slam doubles title.
Sock played with Vasek Pospisil at Wimbledon in 2014, and the two of them upset the Bryan brothers in the final, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5. Sock is also 2-0 in Davis Cup doubles play.
If Team World is going to have any chance to win the Laver Cup then you can count on Sock’s doubles ability being a huge factor.
Kyrgios is only 21-24 in his doubles career, but he has really improved this season. Kyrgios is 12-6 in doubles in 2017 and should fare well in this competition. The 22-year-old has spoken very highly of the Davis Cup in the past few months, and an international competition like this one should bring out similar feelings.
Kyrgios lacks big-match experience in doubles—he’s played just six times at the Grand Slam and Davis Cup levels—but with his talent, it wouldn’t be surprising if he thrived playing amongst the game’s best players.
Isner is yet another fantastic doubles player for Team World, as the big server is 98-88 with four titles in his career. And while Isner is only 6-7 in doubles in 2017, you should count on him to be just fine when he takes the court for Laver Cup.
Like Jack Sock, Isner is 2-0 in doubles in Davis Cup—though he hasn’t played a doubles rubber since 2011. Isner also last played doubles at a Grand Slam in 2011, so these will be the biggest doubles matches he has played in quite some time.
Querrey is 138-148 in his doubles career, but he has won five titles and also happens to be 14-13 in 2017. He has played a lot more doubles matches than most players in this competition, so he should be very comfortable on the stage.
Querrey’s one-and-only Davis Cup doubles appearance came in 2015, when he and Steve Johnson defeated Farrukh Dustov and Denis Istomin, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, to help the United State win its tie against Uzbekistan, 3-1.
Querrey played doubles at three Grand Slams this year, going 3-3 in those events. While the results aren’t necessarily that satisfying, at least Querrey has been exposed to some big doubles matches recently.
Everybody is going to want to watch Denis Shapovalov at the Laver Cup, as the 18-year-old was the breakout star of this year’s US Open. Shapovalov is, however, a complete mystery when it comes to doubles.
While Shapovalov has certainly played in plenty of doubles matches throughout his lifetime, he has played in only one ATP doubles match in his career and has never played a doubles match in the Davis Cup, either.
Shapovalov is clearly the most inexperienced player in the Laver Cup, but his talent is undeniable.
Tiafoe does not have much doubles experience either, as the 19-year-old is just 4-6 in his doubles career heading into the Laver Cup.
Something that is worth noting with Tiafoe is that he is the only player in this event with absolutely no Davis Cup experience. This will be his first taste of international competition, so nerves should be a consideration.