Few people know that the Davis Cup was born only by a friendly challenge. In 1899, a group of British students from Harvard University promoted for tennis in the western United States, where tennis was still a strange sport. A young 21-year-old student named Dwight Filley Davis suddenly came up with a new idea, which is to organize a tournament between English and American players. Dr. James Dwight – founder of the American Tennis Federation – agreed to this offer and on August 7, 1900, the national tennis match took place at Longwood Cricket Club in Boston City.
England and the US team all have 3 players on the grass. As a result, Americans won all five matches, including four singles and one double. The landlord also uses tricks to defeat the British when planting a tall and thick grass surface to limit the opponent’s strength. However, the most important thing is Davis Cup was born.
If in 1905, the tournament had only five participating countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Australia, and Belgium, then in 1920 there were more than 20 teams registered to compete. All matches were played on grass, which was very popular at the time. The first years were the dominance of the US team, but then the French grabbed a series of titles when there were the famous “Four Gunners Musketeers” including Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet, and Rene Lacoste.
After the Open era began, 50 countries were attending the Davis Cup. And in 1981, for the first time, the format of competition was divided into territories used. And this turning point also makes Davis Cup more attractive, besides Grand Slam tournaments and major tournaments in the ATP World Tour system. In 1993, Davis Cup marked a memorable event when 100 national tennis teams attended this tournament.
Players are not required to attend the Davis Cup but over the years, the world’s top names have also arranged their schedules to be able to play for national colors. Tennis, therefore, is not only a personal color but also a collective battle.
In 1945, when Dwight Filley Davis died at the age of 66, the tournament was changed into Davis Cup to pay tribute to the founder of the tournament. Previously, the award was named International Lawn Tennis Challenge.