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Laver Cup becomes official ATP event

Laver Cup becomes official ATP event
FILE PHOTO: Bjorn Borg of Sweden (R) sits beside as Switzerland's Roger Federer addresses a news conference to promote the Laver Cup tennis tournament in Geneva, Switzerland February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann Copyright ARND WIEGMANN(Reuters)
Copyright ARND WIEGMANN(Reuters)
By Reuters
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LONDON (Reuters) - The Laver Cup team event between Europe and the rest of the world is to become an official part of the ATP Tour, the governing body of men's tennis said on Friday.

While extremely popular in its first two editions staged in front of sell-out crowds in Prague and Chicago, the competition backed by Roger Federer was seen as something of an outrider.

This year's tournament in Geneva in September will have no ranking points but Friday's announcement means it will have the same back-up and logistical support as other ATP Tour events.

"The Laver Cup team is incredibly excited about this partnership with the ATP," Tony Godsick, President and CEO of Federer's management company TEAM8 and Laver Cup chairman, said.

"It has always been our hope to build the Laver Cup in partnership with the tennis world, and certification by the ATP after two editions is an overwhelming validation of our vision."

The Laver Cup last year saw a European team captained by Bjorn Borg and including the likes of Federer, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev take on John McEnroe's world team featuring Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson and John Isner.

Critics have suggested it crowds the calendar and uses a prime slot that could be occupied by the Davis Cup which has been revamped this year by the International Tennis Federation.

Federer, who helped create the event to honour Australian great Rod Laver, was delighted with the news.

"As I come closer to the end of my playing career, it's wonderful to know that the Laver Cup will be part of the tour that I've dedicated more than 20 years of my life to," he said.

World number one Djokovic described it as a "true celebration of tennis".

"As President of the ATP Player Council I'm proud to support this collaboration," the Serb said.

Chris Kermode, Executive Chairman and President of the ATP, said the popularity of the event had been a decisive factor in bringing it on board.

"It has struck a chord with fans worldwide in a very short time," Kermode said. "This event has great potential to reach new fans around the world,,"

Becoming an officially-sanctioned event means the Laver Cup will have access to all ATP services, including marketing and social media, as well as umpires and physios.

This year's competition will take place from Sept. 20-22.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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