Laver Cup Heads to San Francisco as Federer’s Role Evolves

Roger Federer and the Laver Cup are headed to San Francisco in 2025, with the international team tennis event to the Golden State Warriors home Chase Center.

Federer played his last matches before retirement at the 2022 Laver Cup, but his current role with the event he co-founded has yet to be defined. One certainty: He will not be a team captain just yet.

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“He does not have an official role,” Godsick, the president and CEO of TEAM8, said in a video call. “There is never a big decision that [Laver Cup CEO] Steve [Zacks] and I do not bounce off of him.”

Federer’s role is less undefined as it is unprecedented, as the 20-time Grand Slam champion makes the transition from competitor to brand ambassador, investor and now, founder. “I’m obviously forever connected to the event,” Federer in an interview. “I’m gonna miss playing in it.” But he also enjoys being around fans and sponsors and doing clinics. “I also enjoyed such as sitting down and watching the game [in Vancouver].”

The tournament’s unique format brings 12 top male tennis players to compete against each other, led by two team captains, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Zacks and his team set up the venues for a whole week to bring the signature look, with cameras on the sidelines, where the captains’ interactions with the team are audible. September’s tournament in Berlin will be the last year Borg and McEnroe will lead the teams.

“I could see myself being a captain,” Federer said. But Godsick says it is too early for that. “We’re going from generation to generation, and we haven’t quite gotten to his generation yet,” he said.

Federer and Godsick launched the tournament in 2017. Patterned after golf’s Ryder Cup, with a unique scoring system and the concept of pitting six players from Europe against six players from the rest of the world, the Laver Cup has successfully gained a foothold in the busy tennis calendar. Its black court is already being copied by others, most recently by last Sunday’s Netflix Slam exhibition.

Named after the Australian tennis legend Rod Lever, the only tennis player to win the calendar-year Grand Slam twice, the three-day team event has been an officially sanctioned ATP Tour event since 2019 and enters its seventh year with a 10-year broadcast contract with Discovery, a growing list of sponsors and interest from institutional investors.

"From the first event and every year, including now, we've had people ask to acquire, invest in, or buy a piece of our event," Godsick said.

In addition to Federer and TEAM8, Brazilian billionaire Jorge Paulo Lemann, the USTA, and the Australian Open are also investors in the project. Lemann is also an investor in Federer-backed Swiss shoe company On.

"We have a long-term view of this; now, it is not time to bring on any partners," he said, but added that if the right partner “can add value, we'll look at it."

The event is a brand-building opportunity for Federer, allowing him to stay connected with current and past stars, and a chance to bring the game to locations where some top players may never play.

"I think very interesting to see where the next world locations will be," Federer said. "The world is a big place, so I think that's going to be something on the top of the agenda."

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