Davis Cup History – A True Caricature

I am trying to recall the history of Davis Cup as most of the tennis lovers may not be knowing the birth of Davis Cup and its journey to 2010. It was in 1900 that the Davis Cup was begun as a Tennis competition between US and Great Britian. This competition is developed to the world’s largest annual international sport activity. In 2010, the number of nations participated was 125 which speaks volumes for its popularity and significance.

Birth of Davis Cup in Tennis – Concept

Four members of the Harward University tennis team conceived in 1899 that they should find a way to have a US team playing against Great Britian team. The idea was mooted to the national associations by them and to their surprise, the associations agreed to play at the National level. One of the four members, Dwight Davis at the outset bought a cup with his own money and he designed the tournament format. Thus the Dwight Davis Cup was launched in 1900 at the Longwood Cricket Club located in Boston which resulted in US beating the British Isles by 3-0. Originally, this was known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge but soon became famous by the name Davis Cup after the player Dwight Davis.

Competitors from 5 in early period to 120 in Seventees

Apart from US and Great Britian, nations like France, Austria, Belgium and a combined team from Australia and New Zealand by name Australasia joined in 1905 to compete for the Tennis supremacy. Later the number of participating nations swelled to 20 by 1920. The exclusive domination of US, Great Britian and Australasia was abruptly blocked with the entry of France in 1927. Eminent France Players, Jean Borotra, Rene Racoste, Henri Cochet and Jocques Brugnon nicknamed Four Musketeers went on a spree of wins for Six years. The authoritative domination in Tennis by US, Great Britian and Australia was unheralded as in 1930s they took it over from France and their domination continued until the 1970s. It is interesting to record here that two Australian players Harry Hopman and Roy Emerson as Captain and Player respectively won maximum number of titles during this golden period. While Hopman won the title for 16 times, Emerson won it eight times. In 1972, the format of the competition was modified, removing the Challenge Round, thereby forcing the reigning champion to play in every round. Till that time, the reigning champion was enjoying the "bye" status with an entry directly to Final. The two special achievements of Tennis competition extended to other Nations was that South Africa became the Fifth Nation to put her hands on the Davis Cup as Champion and this trend was followed by Sweden, Italy and Czechoslovakia. Thus the Davis Cup competition grew in popularity and expanded around the world.

World Group begins - 1999 Centenary year

The present Davis Cup structure was introduced in 1981. A 16 Nation World Group was created who have to compete each year for glory. The other nations were grouped into Regional Zone Groups. It was in 1981 that prize money was allowed as the competition's first title sponsor, NEC became a partner for commercial purposes. Under the new structure, a new generation of Swedish players emerged to win the title three times. Later Germany followed the Swedish suit recording an impressive spell and won the title on three occasions. The landmark achievement in 1993 was that the Davis Cup greeted 100 nations for the first time and in 1999, the competition celebrated its centenary. In 2000, Spain became the champion of Davis Cup and went on to claim three more titles. However, in the last decade, unseeded nations like Russia, Croatia, Serbia laid their hands on the Davis Cup. In 2002, NEC was taken over by BNP Paribas and their Title Sponsorship still continues in Davis Cup.

Legends of Tennis - Icons of supremacy

Davis Cup unveils the list of tennis legends over the years with the competition providing a unique team environment in an otherwise individual sport.Players such as Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, Nicola Pietrangeli Rod Laver, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras all enjoyed successful Davis Cup careers. Currently, Goran Ivanisevic, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Rafael Nadal have also represented their country with passion and commitment, as Davis Cup continues to attract the game's star players doing duty for their Nations. In 2010, Serbia became the Davis Cup tournament. The next round of matches for 2011 championship commences in September 2011.

List of Winner Nations - a Ready Reckoner

Attached is the list of Champion Nations since 1900 to 2010 with the details of Finalist, Score, Venue etc which can be utilized as a ready reckoner for any sports lover. Ever since US won it in 1900, 13 Nations have won the Tournament so far.


  • Winner nations - a list - Ready reckoner (3055-212144-Davis-cup-winner-nation-list.xls)
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