How exactly does Laver Cup work? We've got you covered. 

By Stanley Kay
September 19, 2017

The inaugural Laver Cup will bring the best men's tennis players from around the world to Prague this weekend for a three-day competition. But this is no ordinary tournament. Longtime rivals like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will play on the same team, perhaps even as a doubles pairing, as a team of European players takes on the rest of the world. 

The 2017 Laver Cup, named after Australian tennis great Rod Laver, will be held at the O2 Arena in Prague. The event is slated to be an annual competition, with next year's tournament scheduled for the United States. If you're already missing big-time tennis after the conclusion of the U.S. Open, look no further than Laver Cup. 

Here's everything you need to know before the event begins. 

How does Laver Cup work?

Laver Cup, a new tennis event initially conceived by Roger Federer and his agency, is a three-day competition pitting six of the best men's players in Europe against six of the best from the rest of the world. The competition features both singles and doubles, with three singles and one doubles matches played each day. 

All matches are best-of-three with ad scoring. If the match is split sets, the third set will be decided with a 10-point tiebreaker. 

Every player will play either one or two singles matches throughout the tournament, and at least four of six members of each team will play doubles. 

Here's a big catch: Matches played on Sunday are worth more than matches played on Friday or Saturday. A win on Friday gets the winning team one point, but a Saturday win is worth two points and a Sunday victory is worth three. If both teams are tied at 12 points apiece after all matches conclude, a tiebreaker doubles match—played as a regular set with ad scoring and a tiebreak—will decide the winner on Sunday.

Matches will be played indoors on hard courts. 

Who's playing?

Europe is represented by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych. Team World is represented by Sam Querrey, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe, who replaced Juan Martin del Potro this week. 

Bjorn Borg and Thomas Enqvist are the captain and vice captain, respectively, for Team Europe, while John McEnroe and Patrick McEnroe are captain and vice captain for Team World. 

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Four players on each team were selected based on their ATP ranking, while the other two were captain's picks made after the U.S. Open. 

When does it start?

Laver Cup starts this Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 24. It is scheduled to be an annual event, with next year's Cup taking place somewhere in the United States. Laver Cup is intended to be an annual event played two weeks after the U.S. Open, though it will not take place during Summer Olympic years. 

How do I watch?

Tennis Channel will televise all three days of Laver Cup. You can watch online with Tennis Channel Everywhere

Should I watch?

Absolutely. Have you ever fantasized about watching Federer and Nadal team up on the doubles court? You could very well get your wish. How about Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov? Laver Cup's unique format will provide no shortage of fascinating combinations and storylines. Europe, boasting the two best players in the world, is a clear favorite, but Team World features the Davis Cup chemistry of three veteran Americans and the promise of Shapovalov, Kyrgios and Tiafoe.  

If you're someone who just watches majors and usually eschews smaller tournaments—don't worry, I won't hold it against you too much—give Laver Cup a shot. 

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