The Davis Cup is the largest annual international team competition in sport, with no fewer than 142 countries registered for 2020.
In 1899, Dwight Davis pitched the idea of an international team competition to the president of the US tennis federation and even paid for the trophy from his own pocket. Thus, the Davis Cup was born, and this year celebrates 120 years of history culminating in November’s Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals.
The Davis Cup is one of the cornerstones of the international sporting calendar and is also one of the longest running. In sport there are few competitions that can boast more than 100 years of history and that also enjoy such international participation.
Did you know?
- The United States tops the list of countries with the highest number of victories (32), followed by Australia (28) and Great Britain (10).
- The first winner was the United States in 1900, beating the British Isles 3-0 in the city of Boston. Spain, winner of the most recent title at the Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals in 2019, has won a total of six titles, the first of which did not come until the year 2000.
- In 1927, the Davis Cup underwent its first great revolution with the arrival of the ‘Musketeers’, four French players who defined an era: Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and René Lacoste went six years without loss.
- Italian Nicola Pietrangeli has played the most matches in the competition, taking part in no fewer than 66 clashes between nations, with a tally of 120 games won and 44 lost.
- Other legends of the competition include such illustrious names as Fred Perry, Manolo Santana, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Ilie Nastase and John McEnroe.
- The members of the so-called Big Four (Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray) can all boast of having at least one Davis Cup in their trophy cabinets.
The fight for the Davis Cup title in 2020 starts on March 6 and 7 with the Davis Cup by Rakuten Qualifiers. Twenty-four nations will meet in search of a place in the Finals, where Spain, Canada, Britain, Russia, France and Serbia are already waiting.