The Davis Cup is one of the most celebrated Men's team tennis tournaments in history. The Davis cup owes it's origins to a rivalry between the Harvard Tennis team and the British tennis team. In 1899 the Harvard Tennis team issued a challenge to the British to see which team was the best.
Harvard player Dwight Davis designed the tournament format and had a sterling silver trophy created as the prize for the victor. While initial name of the tournament was the International Lawn Tennis Challenge is would soon become known as the Davis Cup in honor of the man who had the trophy created.
The US would go on to win the first two Davis Cups, before the British claimed their first in 1903. By the year 1905 Austria, Belgium, France, and a team comprised of players from Australia and New Zeland known as Australasia would join the challenge series. Originally the tournament style sent teams into competition which would lead up to a match against the defending champions who would receive a bye into the final round.
To date the United States, and Australia hold an overwhelming number of Davis cup victories. To date the USA holds 13 Davis Cup championships, and Australia has brought home 7.
In 1972 the Davis Cup changed from a challenge title to a full tournament title requiring the previous years winner to compete in the tournament style and reach the final round by their own merits. In 1981 the International Tennis Federation, which governs the event, would adopt the tiered system which remains in effect to this day.
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Tennis - Davis Cup