Tennis creates Ryder Cup-like event, pits Europe vs. world

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Following in the footsteps of golf's popular Ryder Cup, tennis has introduced a new global event.

On Friday, Team8, Tennis Australia and Brazilian businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann announced the inception of the Laver Cup. Named after Australian Open legend Rod Laver, the three-day men's event will pit Europe's best players against the top competitors from the rest of the world.

"This came about a couple years ago," said Tony Godsick, president and CEO of Team8, which manages Roger Federer. "We've been talking about doing something with Rod Laver to honor his legacy. We've come up with a format and platform that we think will do the sport great and is really exciting."

The tournament, which is expected to be held annually, will start in 2017. Although a destination has not been set, the inaugural event is expected to take place in Europe.

Four players on each team will be selected based on results. The tournament will feature teams composed of six players, with a legend of the sport from each region serving as captain. It is expected that there will be three singles and one doubles match per day.

Laver, who won the calendar-year Grand Slam in 1962 and 1969, says this endeavor wasn't implemented to take the place of the Davis Cup.

"I think if you're in the Davis Cup format, you're sort of country to country," Laver said. "It's always been that way. This is just purely Europe against the rest of the world. Hopefully the top players will want to participate.

"It's a learning curve of trying to get the right scheduling and the right amount of play with all of different players around the world."

The architects behind the Laver Cup noted that rankings points won't be at stake, but there will be some healthy incentives.

"There's going to be substantial prize money," said Craig Tiley, tournament director of the Australian Open. "... You've seen what's happened with the Ryder Cup and where it is today. We believe it's going to become a stop on the calendar that's a must-do for the players and the fans."