The three-day tournament, viewed as tennis' answer to golf's Ryder Cup, offering fans a rare opportunity to see the sport's top players team up, is without the likes of the retired Roger Federer, the injured Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic this year.
But fans got a glimpse of the future at the Rogers Arena, as US Open semi-finalist Shelton beat fellow debutant Arthur Fils of France 7-6(4) 6-1 to hand Team World the opening point of the competition for the first time in its six-year history.
"It's different pressure, for sure," said American Shelton, who hit back from 1-4 in the first set tiebreak before switching gears to close out the victory, as tournament co-founder and 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer watched from the stands.
"I love the type of pressure of playing for a team. In the back of your head, it's always you don't want to let them down, but also, the win is so much greater when you get to do it for them and Team World, not just for yourself."
"We've got some new blood. There's a lot of energy," Team World captain John McEnroe said.
"I think we've always had the team spirit, but there's a great team feeling. Obviously we've come in guns blazing. It's great to have a lead."
The first team to reach 13 points will lift the Laver Cup.
While Team World claimed one point for each win on Friday, Team Europe will not lose hope as two points will be on offer for each victory on Saturday and three points for each win on the final day.