In recent years, tennis tournaments have evolved into more than just sports competitions – they have become a brand. And the Laver Cup is not an exemption in this regard. As a part of this brand, there is a tennis court that distinguishes the event from others.
The French Roland Garros is known for its red-clay courts, the Rolex Paris Masters painted their playing surface a “Rolex green colour”, or the WTA Lyon tournament wanted to add some pink colour to the ambience.
The first edition of the Laver Cup introduced black courts in 2017. Since then it has become a tradition and a part of the tournament’s brand.
In 2017, the tournament director Steve Zacks spoke to the media explaining the reason behind choosing a black colour for the courts:
“We worked very hard to deliver the blackest court that’s ever been delivered. We made very special paint and we tested it three times under light. It’s going to present beautifully.”
In the 2019 edition, he reconfirmed his decision and added:” We needed a colour that stood apart. The U.S. Open is blue, the French Open has red clay, Wimbledon is green and purple, and the Australian Open is blue and white. Nobody was black.”
It is all about a branding perspective and style
Aside from the unique format itself (two teams of six players each with a team captain), using black courts increases brand recognition and gives instant associations with Laver Cup.
Zacks estimates that they spent over two years conducting the research. Three tests of the surface were needed to define the colour and six for the pace of the court before they found the right formula. It was necessary to add sand to reduce court speed so that rallies would be more prominent. However, it was imperative not to add too much to interfere with the black colour.Embed from Getty Images
What is more, both spectators at home watching the game on TV and at the stadium would be able to follow the yellow-green ball on a black background.
Black tennis courts lend a sense of style and elegance to the whole concept of the tournament. Federer in an interview with the New York Times, once said: “The black court is the centrepiece of a really cool, contemporary look over all that is such a big part of how people identify with the Laver Cup.”
This year, the courts of the London O2 arena were also painted in black to celebrate the fifth edition of the Laver Cup.Embed from Getty Images
Tickets for the 20,000-seat arena were sold out almost entirely before the announcement that the tournament would be Federer’s final appearance on the court. Immediately after the news, the price tag for the remaining morning session on Friday soared to 700-800 pounds per ticket. The only chance to see the players was an open training session on Thursday with quite affordable options for 22-35 pounds.
Other colours of the Laver Cup
Both teams have their official colours. Team Europe is defined by blue and Team World – by red. The contrast of bright blue and red colours adds an excellent visualisation to the tournament.Embed from Getty Images
Laver Cup Day 1
Three singles matches and one doubles match will take place on the first game day.
Casper Ruud will face Jack Sock. Then Stefanos Tsitsipas will compete with Diego Schwartzman. In the evening session, Andy Murray will play against Alex de Minaur.
The Day 1 schedule will be closed by a doubles match of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal against Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe. This match will be the last of Federer’s career.