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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 11:43 GMT
The history of the Davis Cup
Britain's Fred Perry in action
Fred Perry led GB to the title four times in the '30s
Dwight Filley Davis is hardly a household name in the world of sport. But his name adorns one of sport's most famous trophies.

The Davis Cup, or 'Dwight's pot' as it was sometimes called, was first contested back in 1900 between the USA and Great Britain.

Davis was a student at Harvard who evidently showed a lot more interest in tennis than his studies.

He rose to second in the US rankings and actually competed in the first two competitions, both of which the USA won, before the British Isles won the competition for the next four years.

Rene Lacoste
Lacoste: One of France's 'four musketeers'
Australasia then got in on the act before the USA again came to dominate, winning the trophy for seven straight years.

'The Four Musketeers', as the French team of Rene Lacoste, Henri Cochet, Jean Borotra and Jacques Brugnon were known, took over in the 1920s until the Great Britain team led by Fred Perry wrested the trophy from them by winning at Roland Garros.

Overall, the USA have won the tournament more times than any other country at 31, but no nation has dominated the competition for one period longer than Australia who won it 15 times in 18 years from 1950.

This year is their third consecutive final and they will be looking for their 28th title in all.

France have met Australia in the final four times before with the Antipodeans emerging victorious on three occasions.

The European team will be looking to avenge 1999's defeat at the hands of the Aussies and claim their 26th title.

In total the countries have met 13 times in Davis Cup clashes with Australia holding a 10-3 win-loss record.

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