Monday, December 06, 2004

Venerable trophy reigns in Spain

One of world sport's most venerable trophies, the Davis Cup, was returned to one of its more recent homes at the weekend. Spain's victory over the USA in the finals of this prestigious team tennis competition in Seville means that the Davis Cup will reside in Spain for the second time in four years. Spain won the competition for the first time in 2000.

The Davis Cup is one of the most famous trophies in world sport. It was commissioned by the legendary tennis patron Dwight Davis and was designed by an Englishman named Rowland Rhodes in New England, USA, in 1900. Nancy Kriplen, biographer of Dwight Davis, describes Rhodes' design in her book "Dwight Davis: The Man and the Cup": "Instead of a smooth rim, the top edge would be gently scalloped by a dramatic Georgian border of clusters of primroses and acanthus leaves, that traditional bit of shrubbery favoured by English silver designers. The primrose motif would be repeated around the bottom third of the bowl, this time combined with tiny buds and tendrils, all descending into a seafoam effect around the foot."

The finished trophy cup stood 13 inches (33cm) high and 18 inches (46cm) across at the top. Just over a century later, in 2002, the trophy gained a magnificent new plinth which added 16 additional plaques and castings and raised the height of the trophy and three-tier plinth to 43 inches (110cm).

Principle sponsor for the current Davis Cup is BNP Paribas, with a supporting list of partners that includes Adecco, Hugo Boss, Wilson, Kia Motors, COLT Telecom, Fossil, Getronics and NH Hoteles. Usually on SuccessRewarded we like to honour the sponsors and organisers of events, tournaments and awards. In this case, however, it is the founder and visionary of the Davis Cup, Dwight Davis, that still deserves the credit. So, for founding a tennis competition that is now one of the world's oldest and most prestigious sporting events, Dwight Davis ... we salute you!