Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals

Davis Cup History (II): 1945-1980, years of growth

Sunday, August 18th, 2019

Between 1940 and 1945 the tournament suffered a second standstill due to World War II but the competition was resumed in 1946 with Australia and the United States becoming the most successful sides of the following decades.

The Davis Cup has grown over the years. It underwent a deep transformation in the 70's with the step up of tennis to a professional level. It was not an easy transition and many champions saw the doors to competition closed for some years. Common sense finally prevailed and the Davis Cup earned the international prestige it deserved.

·  The competition was resumed in 1946. The United States and Australia combined winning streaks and titles until the 1970s.


·  The golden generation of Australian tennis built its legacy in the 1960s, led by Harry Hopman, the captain with the most titles in history (16). The heroes of this team were Roy Emerson, the most titled tennis player of all time (8), John Newcombe, Tony Roche and Fred Stolle. 


·  In 1969 the Open Era began - and the Davis Cup also benefited from it by allowing professional tennis players to take part in the competition, increasing the number of participants year after year.


·  In 1972 the first change of format took place in the Davis Cup. The challenge round disappeared and the defending champion stopped entering directly into the final the following year and, like other countries, had to qualify for the tournament. The United States, with Stan Smith, Erik Van Dillen, Tom Gorman and Harold Solomon, were the champions.


·  South Africa became champions in 1974 when their opponentsl, India, did not show up in protest against the policy of apartheid (racial segregation that was in force until 1992). It was the fifth nation to write its name on the Davis Cup. The following years, Sweden, Italy and the former Czechoslovakia would follow its footsteps and become first-time winners.