Davis Cup

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Fred Perry (1909—1995) lawn tennis player


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An annual tennis tournament between national teams of four men and a non-playing captain, officially called the International Lawn Tennis Trophy, but named after its founder, Dwight Filley Davis (1879–1945), a Harvard graduate and prominent player at the time of his donation of the trophy in 1900. Davis also became an advocate of municipal provision of sporting opportunity, promoting and providing golf, baseball, and tennis facilities. The Davis Cup, though, was for international teams, initially the USA and the British Isles (the USA winning 3–0 in 1900), but from 1903 including more nations, and dividing into geographical zones for qualifying stages. The USA (32 titles up to 2008) and Australia (28 titles) have dominated the event, with France and Great Britain enjoying dominant spells (and 9 titles each), mostly in the 1920s and the 1930s (France also taking the title in 1991 and 2001; Britain's last triumph was in 1936, before Fred Perry turned professional). Other nations to have won the Cup, up to 2008, are Sweden (7 times), Germany and Spain (3 times each), Russia (twice, first in 2002), and Croatia (2005), the Czech Republic, Italy, and South Africa once each. The Cup is a truly international competition, having had up to 139 national entries, and an example of how sporting competition based on national pride can transcend the mercenary individualism of professional sport.

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