The countdown to the 100th Davis Cup Final began on Tuesday with the launch of an online photographic campaign by the International Tennis Federation. The 100th Davis Cup Final between Czech Republic and Spain will take place at the O2 Arena in Prague on 16-18 November.
In the build-up to this milestone in the competition’s history, the ITF has unveiled a gallery on the Davis Cup website and Facebook page to highlight iconic moments from the past 99 finals. The photo gallery will focus on different decades each day until the start of this year’s final, beginning with the 1900s to 1920s. The Davis Cup website has also been redesigned to celebrate the 100th Final.
Both Czech Republic and Spain have had their share of historic moments in Davis Cup. Spain has won five titles since the turn of the century, while Czechoslovakia won its only title in 1980 in the final year before the introduction of the World Group in 1981.
Davis Cup began in 1900 as a competition between USA and Great Britain at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. It was conceived by four members of the Harvard University tennis team, one of whom, Dwight Davis, designed a tournament format and ordered a trophy, buying it with his own money. The tournament was originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, but soon became known as Davis Cup after Dwight Davis’s trophy.
Davis Cup has grown to become the largest annual international team competition in sport with 122 nations taking part in 2012. The competition celebrated its centenary year in 1999, and 2012 sees the 100th staging of the Final. The 100 finals have been held in 16 countries, with just 13 countries going on to become Davis Cup champion.
The Davis Cup itself has also grown from the silver salad bowl presented for the inaugural competition in 1900, to a 110cm-high and 107cm wide three-plinth trophy holding the original cup itself, engraved with the names of the champions. The bowl itself bears the names of the champions from 1900-1919; the tray with the 1920-1932 winners; the top two plinths with the names of the 1933-2002 champions on its silver plaques; and the recent winners on the base plinth. It is also the world’s only original major sporting cup to have lasted a century and the most well-travelled.