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Davis Cup

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History

The Davis Cup is men's tennis' annual international team competition. In 1900 Dwight F. Davis, a student on the Harvard tennis squad, wanted to match the skills of four members of his team against a team from Britain. Davis devised a format that called for three days of competition, with two singles matches on the first day, a doubles match on the second, and two more singles matches on the final day. Known as a "tie," this head-to-head arrangement pits nation against nation and remains in use today.

Davis purchased a trophy and set the first event at the Longwood Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. The American team was victorious against the British, with Davis winning a singles match and teaming up for the doubles victory. In 1901 the event was not held, but in 1902 the Americans came from two matches behind and again defeated the British. Over the next several years, teams from France, Belgium, Austria, and Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) joined the competition and turned the event into the true worldwide affair that Davis had originally envisioned.

After Davis died in 1945, the trophy was renamed the Davis Cup in his memory.

During the over 100 years of Davis Cup history, most of the greatest names in tennis have represented their country, including Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Don Budge, Ken Rosewall, Tony Trabert, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras.

Format

Each year, 16 nations qualify to compete for the Davis Cup as part of the upper-echelon World Group, earning a spot in the exclusive field via regional play or previous year's results. These nations face one another in four rounds of single-elimination ties throughout the year. Within these contests each match is referred to as a "rubber" in Davis Cup lingo. Ties consist of four singles matches and one doubles match, scheduled over three days, with all rubbers best-of-five sets.

With more than 100 years of history behind it, most of the great names in tennis have participated in their countries' quest for the Davis Cup, now under the management of the International Tennis Federation. Among these are stars Rod Laver, Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Don Budge, Ken Rosewall, Tony Trabert, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Andy Roddick.

Official Davis Cup Website ยป

Davis Cup Schedule
  • First Round: Feb 6-8
  • Quarterfinals: May 8-10
  • Semifinals: July 10-12
  • Final: December 4-6
Facts and Figures
  • The U.S. has won the Cup a record 31 times.
  • Australia won 15 of 18 from 1950 to 1967.
  • In 2004 137 nations were entered in the competition.
  • The Davis Cup trophy weighs 231 pounds and stands 3.5 feet.