The Davis Cup is the most important competition for national teams in men's tennis . It is played every year among over a hundred nations in groups and rounds. The organizer is the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The comparable competition in women's tennis is the Fed Cup .
Every match between two teams ( English tie ) is played on two days in four singles and one double. First two single games are played, then the double game and the two remaining single games on the following day. All games, singles and doubles ( English rubbers ), have two winning sets (best-of-three). Basically, if a team has won three games and is declared the winner of the match, the two teams decide whether the remaining games are still played ( English dead rubber ).
Since the 1981 season there has been a world group in which the 16 best teams play for the title. It will be played in the knockout system . At the end of the season, all eight losers in the first round must compete in a relegation round against one of the eight best teams from the continental groups Europe / Africa , Australia and Oceania / Asia and America . The winners of these games qualify for the world group for the following season. The individual continental groups are in turn divided into divisions, which also carry out a promotion and relegation relegation.
The team that had to play away in the last direct encounter since 1970 enjoys home rights. If there has not yet been a duel between two nations or if the encounter took place on neutral ground, the lot decides.
America Zone 1
Europe-Africa Zone 1
Asia-Oceania Zone 1
America zone 2
Europe-Africa zone 2
Asia-Oceania Zone 2
America zone 3
Europe zone 3
Africa zone 3
Asia-Oceania Zone 3
Asia-Oceania Zone 4
Note: The total number of nations in the second stage is 24. The allocation to the three zones can change annually and depends on the relegation results.
The origin of the national competition goes back to the idea of four members of the Harvard University tennis team . In 1899 they made the decision to challenge Great Britain , the motherland of tennis, in a competition. After the two tennis associations had given their general agreement, Dwight Filley Davis , one of the four players on the team, worked out a competition concept and, according to an anecdote, bought a sterling silver trophy with the exact amount of money he had with him. The trophy is jokingly referred to as the "ugliest salad bowl in the world".
The first game between the USA and Great Britain was played in Boston in 1900 . The US team (with Dwight Davis) turned out to be so strong, especially to the British surprise, that they won their first three games. The following year the competition was canceled. In 1902 the USA won again. By 1913, the field of participants expanded to include Germany , Belgium , Austria , France and “ Australasia ”, a community team formed by Australia and New Zealand (1905 to 1913). The tournament, which was originally known as the "International Lawn Tennis Challenge", was given its current name in memory of its "inventor" Dwight Davis after he died in 1945.
Between 1950 and 1967 the competition was dominated by the Australians, who won the trophy 15 times in these 18 years. Until 1973, only four nations - the USA, Great Britain, France and Australia / Australasia - had won the competition. The dominance of these leading tennis nations was broken in 1974 when South Africa and India qualified for the final round. South Africa won without a fight because India refused to play in the finals in protest against apartheid policy. Since then, other countries have also managed to win the Davis Cup.
Germany reached the final for the first time in 1970, but lost to the USA. In 1985 the team lost a final against Sweden for the second time. The first German Davis Cup victory came on December 18, 1988. The title was defended in 1989 - again against Sweden. The last title ever won by a German team was in 1993.
On the 100th anniversary of the competition in 2000, 129 nations played for the title.