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Home Davis Cup History: Results, Structure and Shedule

Davis Cup History: Results, Structure and Shedule

One of the most iconic tennis tournaments, the Davis Cup is hugely popular around the world. What is there in its history and structure that makes it so great? Some of the greatest tennis tournaments in the history of the sport began more than a century ago. A deep heritage associated with the competition remains one of the reasons for its fame.

Davis Cup history: first trophy

The Davis Cup is one of few tournaments that are highly respected by players, as it is no longer an individual representation. Instead, it involves national teams which call up best players of the country to make it feel like a World Cup for tennis. Davis Cup history goes a long way back to 1900 when the tournament was first conceived as an event between Great Britain and the United States.

Winners

The first competition between the two nations took place in 1900. It was so successful that the need arose to have it held regularly as a proper tournament. The original tournament format was designed by one of the very first players, Dwight Davis. The American later decided to make the first trophy out of his own money. Thus, the name Davis Cup was born; the tournament was initially known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge. William Durgin designed the trophy which was then crafted by Rowland Rhodes. ‘What is the Davis Cup?’ is a popular question and the role played by Dwight Davis in designing this competition holds the answers.

Davis Cup History: first championship

The tournament was immensely successful in its initial few years, so some other nations expressed a desire to participate. This led to the inclusion of Austria, France, Australasia (tennis Davis Cup team representing Australia and New Zealand), and Belgium to get drafted into the tournament from 1905. The fame of the tournament began to grow and it was accommodating more than 20 countries during the 1920s. Great Britain, the United States, and Australasia were the front-runners in terms of winning trophies during this period. However, it was brought to an end by the success of France in 1927.

1969 was a memorable year for the Davis Cup, as it was the first year when 50 countries took part. One of the biggest changes in the structure of the tournament happened in 1972 when the Challenge Round was done away with. It meant that defending champions no longer had a straight passage into the next year’s finals and they had to compete in the group stages like every other national team.

Structure

The Davis Cup history changed in 1981 after the introduction of 16 nations World Group format. Large participant number at the tournament mean that Coupe Davis is becoming ever more competitive. To put things into perspective, the 2018 edition of the tournament features more than 130 countries taking part.

Over the years, different countries have had periods of extensive domination. The United States and Great Britain were at the heart of title victories during the initial part. Nations like Germany, France, Sweden, and Australia have had immense success later on. The United States, though, still top the title winners list with a whopping 32 titles under their belt. They also hold the record for biggest number of titles won consecutively – seven. Australia is the second most successful team in the Davis Cup with 28 titles up until now.

One of the strongest features of the Coupe Davis title is the presence of numerous competitors. As the number of countries taking part was growing fast after the late 1950s, the tournament was reformatted in 1981 to provide every team an opportunity to win the title. This remains one of the biggest disadvantages of other major tournaments, but tennis Davis Cup differs in this aspect. Davis Cup schedule is available throughout the year and it allows the tournament to manage teams based on their rating level.

At present, the world group of 16 countries gets the opportunity to fight for the title at the final stages.

But initially countries are part of smaller groups based on their region. There are three major subdivisions – Americas zone, Europe/Africa zone, Asia/Oceania zone.

Based on their rating, they are further divided into groups in descending order. Americas zone, for example, has three groups and they feature 23 countries in total. The Europe/Africa zone is divided into two groups featuring 28 countries, but these are further divided into European and African groups separately with 14 countries each. There are four groups in the Asia/Oceania zone based on their rating. This zone remains the largest with representatives from 31 countries. The Davis Cup results from all these groups play a major factor in deciding the 16 teams that form the world group.

Level Group(s)
1
World Group
16 countries
2
Group One Americas Zone
6 countries
Group One Europe/Africa Zone
12 countries
Group One Asia/Oceania Zone
6 countries
3
Group Two Americas Zone
8 countries
Group Two Europe/Africa Zone
16 countries
Group Two Asia/Oceania Zone
8 countries
4
Group Three Americas Zone
9 countries
Group Three Europe Zone / Group Three Africa Zone
16 countries / 16 countries
Group Three Asia/Oceania Zone
8 countries
5
Group Four Asia/Oceania Zone
9 countries

So, where is the Davis Cup held? Now the tournament is a world-wide competition and that means that it is difficult to come up with a precise answer. The group tournaments are held in the respective regions before the World Cup takes on a global scale. There are minimum prerequisites for hosting matches of Coupe Davis; for example, the World Cup final game requires a minimum seating capacity of 12000.

As with other tennis cup competitions, tennis Davis Cup uses the method of tie to eliminate the defeated teams. Each match is made up of five rubbers (that is a Davis Cup term for individual game), out of which four are singles with a doubles game sandwiched in between. The first two of the singles rubbers take place at the start of the tie and the reverse occurs in the final days of the match.

Records and statistics
Team
Country Years won Runners up
United States 1900, 1902, 1913, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1937, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2007 (32) 1903, 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1914, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1964, 1973, 1984, 1991, 1997, 2004 (29)
Australia 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1914, 1919, 1939, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1973, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1999, 2003 (28) 1912, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1936, 1938, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1990, 1993, 2000, 2001 (19)
Great Britain 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1912, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 2015 (10) 1900, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1919, 1931, 1937, 1978 (8)
France 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1991, 1996, 2001 (9) 1925, 1926, 1933, 1982, 1999, 2002, 2010, 2014 (8)
Sweden 1975, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1997, 1998 (7) 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1996 (5)
Spain 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 (5) 1965, 1967, 2003, 2012 (4)
Germany 1988, 1989, 1993 (3) 1970, 1985 (2)
Czech Republic 1980, 2012, 2013 (3) 1975, 2009 (2)
Russia 2002, 2006 (2) 1994, 1995, 2007 (3)
Italy 1976 (1) 1960, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1998 (6)
Serbia 2010 (1) 2013 (1)
Switzerland 2014 (1) 1992 (1)
South Africa 1974 (1) 0
Croatia 2005 (1) 0
Argentina 0 1981, 2006, 2008, 2011 (4)
India 0 1966, 1974, 1987 (3)
Romania 0 1969, 1971, 1972 (3)
Belgium 0 1904, 2015 (2)
Japan 0 1921 (1)
Mexico 0 1962 (1)
Chile 0 1976 (1)
Slovakia 0 2005 (1)