Davis Cup

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Davis Cup
Current season, competition or edition:
2015 Davis Cup
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas.svg
No. of teams16 (World Group)
130 (2013 total)
CountriesITF member nations
Most recent champion(s) Switzerland (1st title)
Most titles United States (32 titles)
FounderDwight F. Davis
Official websitedaviscup.com
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Davis Cup
Current season, competition or edition:
2015 Davis Cup
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas.svg
No. of teams16 (World Group)
130 (2013 total)
CountriesITF member nations
Most recent champion(s) Switzerland (1st title)
Most titles United States (32 titles)
FounderDwight F. Davis
Official websitedaviscup.com

The Davis Cup is the premier international team event in men's tennis. It is run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and is contested annually between teams from competing countries in a knock-out format. The competition began in 1900 as a challenge between Great Britain and the United States. By 2013, 130 nations entered teams into the competition. The most successful countries over the history of the tournament are the United States (winning 32 tournaments and finishing as runners-up 29 times) and Australia (winning 28 times, including four occasions with New Zealand as Australasia, and finishing as runners-up 19 times). The present champion is Switzerland, which beat France to win the title for the first time.

The women's equivalent of the Davis Cup is the Fed Cup. Australia, the Czech Republic, and the United States are the only countries to have held both Davis Cup and Fed Cup titles in the same year.


Davis Cup

The tournament was conceived in 1899 by four members of the Harvard University tennis team who wished to challenge the British to a tennis competition. Once their respective lawn tennis associations agreed, one of the four Harvard players, Dwight F. Davis, designed a tournament format and ordered an appropriate sterling silver trophy from Shreve, Crump & Low, purchasing it from his own funds for about $1,000.[1] They in turn commissioned a classically-styled design from William B. Durgin's of Concord, New Hampshire, crafted by the Englishman Rowland Rhodes.[2] Davis went on to become a prominent politician in the United States in the 1920s, serving as US Secretary of War from 1925–29 and as Governor-General of the Philippines from 1929–32.

The first match, between the United States and Britain (which originally competed using the name "British Isles"), was held at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900. The American team, of which Dwight Davis was a part, surprised the British by winning the first three matches. The following year the two countries did not compete, but the US won the match in 1902 and Britain won the next four matches after that. By 1905 the tournament expanded to include Belgium, Austria, France, and Australasia, a combined team from Australia and New Zealand that competed together until 1914.

The tournament was initially titled the International Lawn Tennis Challenge although it soon became known as the Davis Cup, after Dwight Davis' trophy.

From 1950 to 1967, Australia dominated the competition, winning the Cup 15 times in 18 years.

The United States has won the event the most times (32), closely followed by Australia (28 [including 4 as Australasia]), Great Britain (9 [including 5 as the British Isles]), France (9) and Sweden (7).

Up until 1973, the Davis Cup had only ever been won by the United States, Great Britain/British Isles, France and Australia/Australasia. Their domination was eventually broken in 1974, when South Africa and India qualified for the final; however, the final was scratched and South Africa was awarded the Davis Cup after India refused to travel to South Africa for the final in protest of the South African government's apartheid policies. (As of 2013, South Africa has never actually played in a Davis Cup finals match.) The following year saw the first final between two "outsider" nations that was actually played; Sweden beat Czechoslovakia 3–2, and since then several other countries have gone on to capture the trophy.

In 1989, the tiebreak was also introduced into Davis Cup competition. The tiebreak is now used in all sets except for fifth set, which remains an advantage set.

On the 100th anniversary of the tournament's founding, 129 nations competed for the Davis Cup.

Davis Cup games in Sweden have been affected by political protests several times, often from left-wing people, including sometimes the government:


Monument to the Davis Cup at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France.


The 16 best national teams are assigned to the World Group and compete annually for the Davis Cup. Nations which are not in the World Group compete in one of three regional zones (Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa). The competition is spread over four weekends during the year. Each elimination round between competing nations is held in one of the countries, and is played as the best of five matches (4 singles, 1 doubles). The ITF determines the host countries for all possible matchups before each year's tournament.

The World Group is the top group and includes the world's best 16 national teams. Teams in the World Group play a four-round elimination tournament. Teams are seeded based on a ranking system released by the ITF, taking into account previous years' results. The defending champion and runner-up are always the top two seeds in the tournament. The losers of the first-round matches are sent to the World Group playoff round, where they play along with winners from Group I of the regional zones. The playoff round winners play in the World Group for the next year's tournament, while the losers play in Group I of their respective regional zone.

Each of the three regional zones is divided into four groups. Groups I and II play elimination rounds, with the losing teams facing relegation to the next-lower group. The teams in Groups III and those in Group IV play a round-robin tournament with promotion and relegation.

Current structure[edit]

1World Group

16 countries

2Group One Americas Zone

6 countries

Group One Europe/Africa Zone

12 countries

Group One Asia/Oceania Zone

6 countries

3Group Two Americas Zone

8 countries

Group Two Europe/Africa Zone

16 countries

Group Two Asia/Oceania Zone

8 countries

4Group Three Americas Zone

9 countries

Group Three Europe Zone

13 countries

Group Three Africa Zone

15 countries

Group Three Asia/Oceania Zone

8 countries

5Group Four Asia/Oceania Zone

11 countries

Note: The total number of nations in Group One is 24. However, the distribution among the three zones may vary each year, according to the number of nations promoted or relegated between Group One and the World Group. The number of nations in the World Group and Group One together is 22 from Euro/African Zone, 9 from Americas Zone and 9 from Asia/Oceania Zone.

Previous tournament structure[edit]

When competition began in 1900, the Davis Cup competition was played as a challenge cup. All teams competed against one another for the right to face the previous year's champion in the final round, and the previous year's champion (the "defending champion") advanced directly to the current year's final round.

Beginning in 1923, the world's teams were split into two zones: the "America Zone" and the "Europe Zone". The winners of the two zones met in the Inter-Zonal Zone ("INZ") to decide which national team would challenge the defending champion for the cup. In 1955, a third zone, the "Eastern Zone", was added. Because there were three zones, the winner of one of the three zones received a bye in the first round of the INZ challenger rounds. In 1966, the "Europe Zone" was split into two zones, "Europe Zone A" and "Europe Zone B", so the winners of the four zones competed in the INZ challenger rounds.

Beginning in 1972, the format was changed from a challenge cup, so that the defending champion was required to compete in all rounds, and the Davis Cup was awarded to the tournament champion.

In 1981, the tiered system of competition was created, which remains in use today, and in which the 16 best national teams compete in the World Group and in which all other national teams compete in one of the four groups in one of the three regional zones.

Ties and rubbers[edit]

As in other cup competitions tie is used in the Davis Cup to mean an elimination (or knockout) round, rather than meaning a draw or when competitors' scores are equal. In the Davis Cup, the word rubber means an individual match. Thus, "tie" means a round, and "rubber" means a match.

In the annual World Group competition, 16 nations compete in 8 first-round ties ("matchups"); the 8 winners compete in 4 quarter-final-round ties; the 4 winners compete in 2 semifinal-round ties; and the 2 winners compete in the final round tie.

Each tie consists of 5 rubbers ("matches"), which are played in 3 days (usually on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday). The winner of the tie is the nation which wins 3 or more of the 5 rubbers in the tie. On the first day, the first 2 rubbers are singles, which are generally played by each nation's 2 best available singles players. On the second day, the doubles rubber is played. On the third day, the final 2 rubbers are typically reverse singles, in which the first-day contestants usually play again, but they swap opponents from the first day's singles rubbers. However, in certain circumstances, the team captain may replace one or two of the players who played the singles on Friday by other players who were nominated for the tie. For example, if the tie has already been decided in favour of one of the teams, it is common for younger or lower-ranked team members to play the remaining dead-rubbers in order for them to gain Davis Cup experience.

Ties are played at a venue chosen by one of the competing countries. The right of choice is given on an alternating basis. Therefore countries play in the country where the last tie between the teams was not held. In case the two countries haven't met since 1970, lots are drawn to determine the host country.[5]

Prior to each tie, the captain of each nation nominates a squad of four players and decides who will compete in the tie. On the day before play starts, the order of play for the first day is drawn at random. In the past, teams could substitute final day singles players only in case of injury or illness, verified by a doctor, but current rules permit the captain to designate any player to play the last two singles rubbers, provided that no first day matchup is repeated. There is no restriction on which of the playing team members may play the doubles rubber: the two singles players, two other players (usually doubles specialists) or a combination.

Each rubber is normally played in a best-of-5 set. The first four sets use a tiebreak if necessary, but the fifth set usually has no tiebreaker, so play continues until one side wins by two games (e.g. 10–8). However, if a team has clinched the tie ("round") before all 5 rubbers ("matches") have been completed, the remaining rubbers may be shortened to the best-of-3-sets, with a tie breaker if necessary to decide all three sets.

In Group III and Group IV competition, each tie ("round") consists only of 3 rubbers ("matches"), which include 2 singles and one doubles rubber, which is played in a single day. The rubbers are in the best-of-3-set format, with a tie breaker if necessary to decide all three sets.

Records and statistics[edit]


For more details on this topic, see List of Davis Cup champions.
CountryYears wonRunners up
 United States1900, 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)
 Australia1907, 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 Britain1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1912, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 (9)1900, 1902, 1907, 1913, 1919, 1931, 1937, 1978 (8)
 France1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1991, 1996, 2001 (9)1925, 1926, 1933, 1982, 1999, 2002, 2010, 2014 (8)
 Sweden1975, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1994, 1997, 1998 (7)1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1996 (5)
 Spain2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011 (5)1965, 1967, 2003, 2012 (4)
 West Germany
1988, 1989, 1993 (3)1970, 1985 (2)
 Czech Republic
1980, 2012, 2013 (3)1975, 2009 (2)
 Russia2002, 2006 (2)1994, 1995, 2007 (3)
 Italy1976 (1)1960, 1961, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1998 (6)
 Serbia2010 (1)2013 (1)
 Switzerland2014 (1)1992 (1)
 South Africa1974 (1)(0)
 Croatia2005 (1)(0)
 Argentina(0)1981, 2006, 2008, 2011 (4)
 India(0)1966, 1974, 1987 (3)
 Romania(0)1969, 1971, 1972 (3)
 Belgium(0)1904 (1)
 Japan(0)1921 (1)
 Mexico(0)1962 (1)
 Chile(0)1976 (1)
 Slovakia(0)2005 (1)

Titles by country (since 1972)[edit]

 United States919722007
 Czech Republic
 South Africa11974

Years in World Group[edit]


1Players must now be aged 14 and over

Current ITF rankings[edit]

For a complete list, see ITF Rankings

1 Czech Republic35,850.001 (Steady)
2 Switzerland24,737.504 (Increase2)
3 France16,725.002 (Decrease1)
4 Serbia14,125.003 (Decrease1)
5 Argentina12,406.256 (Increase1)
6 Spain12,125.005 (Decrease1)
7 Italy9,146.887 (Steady)
8 United States6,931.258 (Steady)
9 Canada6,728.139 (Steady)
10 Kazakhstan4,653.1310 (Steady)
11 Great Britain4,378.1311 (Steady)
12 Japan4,122.5012 (Steady)
13 Germany3,988.4413 (Steady)
14 Croatia3,562.5014 (Steady)
15 Australia3,562.5015 (Steady)
16 Belgium2,900.0016 (Steady)
17 Brazil2,852.5017 (Steady)
18 Ukraine2,173.7518 (Steady)
19 Netherlands2,012.5019 (Steady)
20 Israel1,825.0020 (Steady)
21 Austria1,750.0021 (Steady)
22 Uzbekistan1,720.0022 (Steady)
23 India1,575.0024 (Increase1)
24 Slovakia1,556.2525 (Increase1
25 Poland1,510.0026 (Increase1)

Complete rankings As of 24 November 2014

ATP points distribution[edit]

Davis Cup
Rubber categoryMatch winMatch lossTeam bonusPerformance bonusTotal achievable
SinglesPlay-offs5 / 10115
First round4010280
Final757531254150 / 2253 / 2754
Cumulative total500500 – 535362546254
First round5010250
Final9535595 / 1305
Cumulative total31535053505

ATP Points distributed from 2009 onwards[7]


Only World Group and World Group Play-Off matches and only live matches earn points. Dead rubbers earn no points. If a player does not compete in one or more rounds he will receive points from the previous round when playing at the next tie.[7]

1 A player who wins a singles rubber in the first day of the tie is awarded 5 points, whereas a singles rubber win in tie's last day grants 10 points for a total of 15 available points.[7]

2 For the first round only, any player who competes in a live rubber, without a win, receives 10 ranking points for participation.[7]

3 Team bonus awarded to a singles player who wins 7 live matches in a calendar year and his team wins the competition.[7]

4 Performance bonus awarded to a singles player who wins 8 live matches in a calendar year. In this case, no Team bonus is awarded.[7]

5 Team bonus awarded to an unchanged doubles team who wins 4 matches in a calendar year and his team wins the competition.[7]

Honour roll (singles)[edit]

Last ten tournaments:

CountryYears05060708091011121314Best result
Argentina Argentina10SFFQFFQFSFFSFSF1RF (1981, 2006, 2008, 2011)
Australia Australia4QFSF1R1RW (1907-09, 1911, 1914, 1919, 1939, 1950-53, 1955-57,
1959-62, 1964-67, 1973, 1977, 1983, 1986, 1999, 2003)
Austria Austria81R1R1R1R1R1RQF1RSF (1990)
Belarus Belarus31RQF1RSF (2004)
Belgium Belgium6QF1R1R1R1R1RF (1904)
Brazil Brazil11RSF (1992, 2000)
Canada Canada31RSF1RSF (1913, 2013)
Chile Chile61RQF1R1RQF1RF (1976)
Croatia Croatia8WQF1RSFQF1RQF1RW (2005)
Czech Republic Czech Republic91R1RQFFSF1RWWSFW (1980, 2012-13)
Ecuador Ecuador11RQF (1985)
France France10QFQFQFQF1RFSFQFQFFW (1927-32, 1991, 1996, 2001)
Germany Germany91RSFQFQF1RQF1R1RQFW (1988-89, 1993)
United Kingdom Great Britain21RQFW (1903-06, 1912, 1933-36)
India India21R1RF (1966, 1974, 1987)
Israel Israel41RSF1R1RSF (2009)
Italy Italy31RQFSFW (1979)
Japan Japan21RQFF (1921)
Kazakhstan Kazakhstan4QF1RQFQFQF (2011, 2013-14)
Netherlands Netherlands4QF1R1R1RSF (2001)
Peru Peru11R1R (2008)
Romania Romania6QF1R1R1R1R1RW (1969, 1971-72)
Russia Russia8SFWFSFQFQF1R1RW (2002, 2006)
Serbia Serbia71R1RWSFQFF1RW (2010)
Slovakia Slovakia7F1RF (2005)
South Korea South Korea11R1R (1981, 1987, 2008)
Spain Spain101R1RQFWWQFWF1R1RW (2000, 2004, 2008-09, 2011)
Sweden Sweden81R1RSFQF1R1RQF1RW (1975, 1984-85, 1987, 1994, 1997-98)
Switzerland Switzerland81R1R1R1R1R1R1RWW (2014)
United States United States101RSFWSFQF1RQFSFQF1RW (1900, 1902, 1913, 1920-26, 1937-38, 1946-49, 1954, 1958,
1963, 1968-72, 1978-79, 1981-82, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2007)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ John Grasso (September 2011). "Davis Cup". Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Scarecrow Press. p. 79. Retrieved 8 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Davis Cup Grows by a Third". daviscup.com. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 
  3. ^ 6,000 join Malmö Davis Cup protest. The Local 7 March 2009.
  4. ^ Crowd ban 'risks bolstering extremists' . The Local 7 March 2009.
  5. ^ "Davis Cup Rules & Regulations - 2012 (English)". Archived from the original on 20 November 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "History - Records". Davis Cup. Retrieved 2014-01-14. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g "IX. Emirates ATP Rankings" (pdf). 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 

External links[edit]