The first Davis Cup took place in 1900 and saw USA take on Great Britain, then playing under the name of the British Isles. It was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston and the Americans surprised their opponents by racing into an unassailable 3-0 lead.The idea of Davis Cup was conceived a year earlier by four members of the Harvard University tennis team, who wished to set up a match between USA and Great Britain. Once the two respective national associations had agreed, one of the four players, Dwight Davis, designed a tournament format and ordered a trophy, buying it with his own money.The tournament was originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, but soon became known as Davis Cup after Dwight Davis’s trophy, which was designed by William Durgin and crafted by Rowland Rhodes.
In 1905, Davis Cup expanded to include France, Austria, Belgium and Australasia, a combined team of players from Australia and New Zealand. Then by the 1920s, there were over 20 nations regularly playing in the competition.The early years were dominated by USA, Great Britain and Australasia, but that period was ended in 1927 by France. Led by the famous Four Musketeers – Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste – France embarked on a glorious run of wins that lasted six years.USA, Great Britain and Australia took control again from the 1930s and it wasn’t until the 1970s that any other nation triumphed. During this time, Australians Harry Hopman and Roy Emerson both entered the Davis Cup history books for winning more titles as captain and player respectively – Hopman won 16 and Emerson won eight
The list of tennis legends to have competed in Davis Cup over the years includes all of the game’s most well-known names, with the competition providing a unique team environment in an otherwise individual sport.Players such as Fred Perry, Don Budge, Roy Emerson, 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.More recently, Goran Ivanisevic, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have also represented their country with passion and commitment, as Davis Cup continues to attract the game’s star players.