Home Tennis Why is the Davis Cup trophy a salad bowl?

Why is the Davis Cup trophy a salad bowl?

by archysport

The Davis Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions held by national teams and it is one of the few tournaments in which tennis players participate as a team and not individually.

The competition was born in 1899 as a response and challenge from the United States to the United Kingdom, a reference in the world of tennis thanks to the mastery of Wimbledon and with which the Americans had a great rivalry. It has its antecedents years ago, in 1882 and 1898, years in which the British tried to launch various tournaments that faced them against Ireland. In the last year of the 19th century, Dwight F. Davis -A 21-year-old American recently graduated from Harvard- designed the format that it would face in its first three editions the United States and the British Isles in the American country.

The creation of the so-called salad bowl

Dwight F. Davis, as well as founder and participant in the first editions of the Davis Cup, it was the one in charge of designing an original trophy for the winner of the competition. The founder of the championship went to the trophy house ‘Shreve, Crump Low Co’, from Boston, to commission it. They had no designer there and the jewelers commissioned it from the ‘William B. Durgin Company’, one of the most expensive brands in the country. It was precisely a Briton, Rowland Rhodes, who was in charge of creating the trophy for the first Davis Cup.

Rhodes included in the trophy trimmings and floral decorations that made him take the shape of a salad bowl, a nickname with which he became known over the years. Actually, the Davis Cup is a ‘punch bowl‘, that is, a container in the shape of a glass that is used to serve punch or similar drinks. No one could imagine, more than 100 years ago, that a tournament that was born with a university spirit was going to gain such prestige during its already centennial history.

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Dwight Davis with the salad bowl

The creative artist He stated that the classic tone of the cup was perfectly matched to the “aristocratic air” that tennis had during that time. In addition, over the years, the trophy was adapted to include annual plaques to register the winners.

The tournament was initially called the ‘International Lawn Tennis Challenge’, but very soon it would begin to be recognized as the ‘Davis Cup’. Dwight F. Davis, tennis player and creator of the tournament, ended up becoming a politician and military man, being even Secretary of War of the United States.

However, there is a very widespread legend about the origin of the salad bowl. They say that Dwight Davis took a punch bowl from his grandmother’s house that he had given him a few years ago. He took it without her knowing to give it in a stellar way to the winner of the edition, which happened to be the United States. That legend tells that, when he found out, his grandmother got very angry with him.

A very peculiar trophy

Gerard Piqué next to the Davis Cup trophy

The original salad bowl weighed 6 kilograms and was 33 cm tall and is considered the oldest trophy in the world in the world of sports. The original container contains the champions of the first 19 editions, the silver tray those from 1920 to 1932 and, as there was no more space, Davis commissioned a first wooden pedestal to continue engraving the names of the champions in silver sheets.

Currently, the trophy has three wooden floors, weighs 105 kilos and measures more than a meter in height and width. The second floors were added in 1968 and 2012. At the moment, the third wooden step has space until 2036, year in which another will have to be added. How much will the Davis Cup trophy end up measuring and weighing? A question that, for the moment, has no answer.

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