Women endorse Laver Cup equivalent

Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action against Monica Puig of Puerto Rico during the women's singles second round match at the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 20, 2017.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain in action against Monica Puig of Puerto Rico during the women's singles second round match at the Pan Pacific Open women's tennis tournament in Tokyo, Japan, on Sept 20, 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

World No. 1 Garbine Muguruza is in favour of having a women's tennis tournament similar to the recently concluded Laver Cup.

The Spaniard told AFP at the ongoing Wuhan Open in China that having a women's equivalent of the Laver Cup would be "awesome".

She said: "I just love that people go and watch tennis and the stadium was full."

The inaugural Laver Cup, which ended on Sunday, is the brainchild of 19-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer. The three-day men's competition in Prague featured four matches - three singles and a doubles - being played each day.

Team Europe - which comprised a star-studded field including Federer and top-ranked Rafael Nadal - took on Team World, with Americans Jack Sock and Sam Querrey, Australian Nick Kyrgios and Canada's Denis Shapovalov.

The matches were also presented in a unique, fast-paced format, being played over the best of three sets with ad scoring. In the event of split sets, the third set was a 10-point match tie-breaker.

US Open women's singles finalist Madison Keys was also receptive to the possibility of a Laver Cup tournament for women.

Speaking to media in Wuhan after her first-round loss to Varvara Lepchenko, the 22-year-old Keys said: "I have no idea what any of the rules are, I didn't see a single point of it but I saw a lot of the Snapchats from Team World - they seemed to have a great time.

"So obviously if there was an opportunity for the women to have it as well, I think it'd be really fun. I'm looking forward to asking the boys about it next week and getting all the details."

US Open champion Sloane Stephens did not watch the Laver Cup either, but said: "I don't know the format, I don't know anything about it to say if it would be good for girls. But if it's good for guys, it's good for girls."

World No. 6 Caroline Wozniacki added: "I heard it was a huge success, I think the guys did a great job."

But Muguruza believes that players' already packed schedules could prove to be an obstacle in deciding when to hold the tournament.

The 23-year-old, who is playing her 19th WTA tournament of the season in Wuhan, told AFP: "It could be a mess to figure out when we could do it. No matter what you want to do with (an extra event in) our schedule, it's very hard."

The fatigue factor was the talking point at the Wuhan Open, which featured many upsets, with players such as world No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska said that many of the world's top female tennis players are tired after a long season.

The Pole, who was seeded ninth, had lost to Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the last 16 of the Wuhan Open on Wednesday.

Other tournament favourites who lost early in Wuhan were second seed Simona Halep and Wozniacki.

Halep and Muguruza are two of the top eight singles players who will be in town for the season-ending BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. The Fed Cup in early November is the final tournament of the season.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Women endorse Laver Cup equivalent'. Print Edition | Subscribe