September 26, 2023

Open Court


The Laver Cup names a boss

The Laver Cup, a Ryder-Cup-like competition that will pit Europe against “the rest of the world”, is proceeding apace.

Scheduled to be played for the first time in 2017 (every September, except Olympic years), the event has named a managing director.

It’s a joint venture between Team 8, which is Tony Godsick’s boutique agency and features Roger Federer as its anchor client., Tennis Australia and a 76-year-old Brazilian gazillionaire named Jorge Lemann who played Davis Cup for Brazil in 1962, and for Switzerland in 1973.

SteveZakAnd the winner is: Steve Zacks, who was named the managing director of the event.

In that uniquely tennis way, Zacks has a few connections: he’s the former CMO of NetJets, the charter airline that counts Federer among its clients. While et NetJets, he was responsible for the company’s becoming the main sponsor of the first MSG Showdown, the annual exhibition that began with Federer v Sampras in 2008 and has evolved into this year’s configuration, which featured Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka, Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. Zacks left NetJets the following year.

Since then, he has been an executive with Bowlmor Lanes, a fancy, upscale bowling alley company and TravelClick (a travel data agency). Before leaving for this new venture, Zacks had been with a company called 3rd Home, which is sort of an AirBNB for wealthy people who want to swap their posh vacation homes. What else? Zacks has degrees from two Ivy League schools.

The first edition of this is expected to be in Europe and, according to the press release, sites are currently being considered.

You’d have to figure Federer is in, given the connections.

The format: each six-player team will have four chosen on ATP rankings, and two captain’s selections. It will last three days, with three singles and one doubles match per day.

No ATP points will be on offer, but no doubt there will be *some* financial incentive.

The September dates are limited, given the US Open takes up a chunk of the month. Then again, every month of the ATP Tour season is limited in terms of openings.

The September choices are the weekend of the Davis Cup semi-finals (ooooh, that would be dramatic), the Metz-St. Petersburg weekend, or the Shenzen-Kuala Lumpur weekend.

As the namesake of the Cup, Laver gets to pick the captains for the inaugural edition.

When it was first announced at the Australian Open, it was greeted with skepticism by Aussies such as Pat Cash and Nick Kyrgios. But if Federer can get Nadal, Murray and Djokovic on board – and play doubles with Nadal – sign us up.

(Zacks mugshot from his LinkedIn profile)

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