The Debut of Tennis's Davis Cup
It was the brainchild of Dwight Davis, a Harvard tennis player who followed up initial success of and enthusiasm for a Harvard-West Coast "national" competition with a proposal to the U.K. for an "international" event. With $750 of his own money spent on an elegant silver trophy bowl, Davis had his matchup.
It took a few months to get all the details squared away, but in August of that same year, three top British players arrived at the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Davis and crew were ready. They played five matches, as is still done today: four singles and one doubles. In 1900, rain forced the cancellation of two of the singles matches; but it didn't matter because Harvard had won the other three matches. Thus, the U.S. won the first-ever Davis Cup.
Behind Davis and his powerful doubles teammate Holcome Ward, Davis kept the Davis Cup in the U.S. in 1901 as well. But the following year, Britain claimed the cup and kept it for several years after that.
Belgium, France, and Australasia (Australia and New Zealand) entered soon after. The roster has increased through the years.
Today, dozens of nations compete for the Davis Cup.