The Davis Cup is an international tennis competition, in which countries play each other. It is contested solely by men; the women's equivalent is the Fed Cup (formerly known as the Federation Cup).
Each round consists of 5 matches. The first two are singles, the third is a doubles match, and in the last two matches (the reverse singles) the first contestants play again, but against different opponents. There is no restriction on who may play the doubles match: the two singles players, two other players (usually doubles specialists) or a combination.
The tournament was conceived in 1899 by four members of the Harvard University tennis team who came up with the idea of challenging the British to a tennis showdown. Once the idea received the go ahead from the respective lawn tennis associations, one of the four Harvard players, Dwight Filley Davis, designed a tournament format and spent the money from his own pocket to purchase an appropriate sterling silver trophy.
The first match, between the United States and Great Britain was held in Brookline, 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 next match in 1902. By 1905 the tournament expanded to include Belgium, Austria, France, and Australasia, a combined team from Australia and New Zealand that competed together until 1924.
These tournament were only officially called the Davis Cup following the death of Dwight Davis in 1945. From 1950 to 1967, Australia dominated the competition, winning the Cup 15 times in 18 years. Since inception, the USA has won the tournament 31 times, more than any other country.
On the 100th anniversary of the tournament's founding, 129 nations competed for the Davis Cup.
Davis Cup winners: