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A quiz on the Davis Cup to excite the memory and increase the knowledge of tennis zealots and armchair experts

? What was the origin of the Davis Cup?

•Dwight F. Davis, a young American tennis player (U.S. doubles champion, with Holcombe Ward, 1899-1901), traveled with friends from New York to California in 1899, playing exhibition matches and meeting leading lawn tennis players across the country. He was so impressed with the enthusiasm for tennis in the U.S. that he decided to donate a trophy for international competition to the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association. The cup officially was offered to and accepted by the USNLTA in the winter of 1900, and was named the Davis International Tennis Trophy. The contest was open to men's teams of any country, but was expected to be between the U.S. and British Isles, who had been competing informally since the early 1880s.

? Britain was the challenger in the first Davis Cup contest, which took place at Boston's Longwood Cricket Club in August 1900. What were the results and who were the players?

•The U.S. shut out the British Isles in three matches (two singles, one doubles). Playing on the American team were Dwight Davis and Malcolm Whitman, in the singles, and Holcombe Ward, who won the doubles with Davis. Britain was represented by Arthur Gore, Ernest Black and H. Roper Barrett.

? The U.S. kept the Davis Cup only three years before two Irish brothers took it over to Britain. Who were they?

•Reginald and Hugh Laurence (H.L.) Doherty. They took on the three-man team of William Larned and brothers Robert and George Wrenn (George played only in the doubles), easily winning the 1903 Davis Cup matches 4-1. It would have been a shutout had not Reginald Doherty defaulted a singles match because of a lame arm. (For the next three years the British team, led by the Dohertys, did prevent the cup challengers from winning a match against them. This succession of three straight shutouts—one against Belgium and two versus the U.S.—still holds the record in Davis Cup competition.)

? In 1907 Australasia (Australia and Mew Zealand) became the first "outsider" to win the Challenge Round. It was twenty years before a fourth power won the Davis Cup matches. What country was that and who were the members of her team?

•In 1927 France's "Four Musketeers"—René Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra and Jacques (Toto) Brugnon—ended a seven-year stretch of U.S. supremacy, winning the cup three matches to two. The star, Lacoste, defeated Little Bill Johnston (6-3, 6-2, 6-2) and Big Bill Tilden (6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2). Cochet lost to Tilden but defeated Johnston in four sets. Borotra and Brugnon barely lost the doubles in five sets.

? What was Jean Borotra's nickname?

•The Bounding Basque.

? How long did France retain the Davis Cup?

•Six years. After 1927 she defeated the U.S. four more times and Britain once, before being beaten by the latter in 1933. Since then France has never reached the Challenge Round.

? Since the Davis Cup matches were inaugurated, 100 teams from seven countries have played in the Challenge Rounds. What are the countries and their records?

•The United States has played in 41 Challenge Rounds, winning the cup 18 times. Australia has a better percentage, having won it 17 times in 30 attempts, and Great Britain has won the cup nine times in 16 tries. France has played in nine Challenge Rounds, losing two to the U.S. before its six-year winning streak started (1927-1932). No other country has won the Challenge Round, although Italy has played twice (lost to Australia in 1960 and 1961), Belgium once (shut out by the British Isles in 1904) and Japan once (beaten 5-0 by the U.S. in 1921).