Thursday, January 03, 2008

DWIGHT DAVIS, POLITICIAN AND TENNIS PLAYER


Dwight F. Davis, born on July 5, 1879, served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army during World War I and was president Calvin Coolidge's Secretary of War. In 1929, he was appointed by President Hoover as the Governor-General of the Philippines. But what made him famous was as founder of the prestigious Davis Cup international tennis competition.

As a competitive tennis player -- winning several titles while at Harvard -- Davis played with fellow Americans while in the Philippines. Continuing to play through his senior years, at 57, he won the 1936 national veterans' (over 45) doubles title.

Consequently, a trophy shaped like a fruit holder and made of silver with the governor's name engraved on its side eventually evolved to the familiar chalice-shaped cup awarded to tennis champions.


The Davis Cup competition began in 1900 as a challenge between the United States and Great Britain. It has since grown into a major international tournament with the United States as the most successful, winning 32 tournaments and finishing as runners-up 29 times. Australia is the second most successful, winning 28 times and finishing second 18 times.

Dwight Davis died in Washington, D.C. on November 28, 1945 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


Dwight Davis - Governor General of the Philippines - 1929 to 1932

While Miguel Lopez de Legazpi was the first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines,
American Frank Murphy was the last.


* * *

Portrait courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery Website

Top image is a photo of my treasured Davis Classic II tennis racquet


*

posted by Señor Enrique at 6:37 AM


17 Comments:

Anonymous kyels said...

Soon we'll be watching the Grand Slams on television again!

:D

January 03, 2008 2:48 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And will you be rooting for anyone in particular, Kyels?

January 03, 2008 6:07 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Eric, so that pic of a wooden racket is one of your own. I learned tennis already using the aluminum racket, a Wilson I can recall.

But I still keep two wooden rackets, complete with bi-colored strings.

You got me there with the Davis Cup founder being a gov-gen of the islands, too. Much like the father of Douglas MacArthur being a gov-gen of the commonwealth, too. I believed named Arthur MacArthur, thus the military general spent part of his youth in the islands prior to the great war.

January 04, 2008 5:54 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You can imagine the excitement when I discovered this piece of trivia of the former governor general of the Philippines.

This Davis wooden racquet took me several months to save up for, Amadeo, and I somehow couldn't part with it :) Neither with my very first wooden Wilson Stan Smith edition ... hehehe. Last I bought (at Toby's here in Glorietta) was the now oversized Prince aluminum racquet. Love all my racquets. Tennis is one game I truly excelled in during my youth; could play for hours on end back then :)

Read William Manchester's "The American Ceasar," a biography of the general, Douglas. I was very much in awe of him. Even saw him in person during his last motorcade on Avenida Rizal when I was a kid. However, now that I'm much older and coming across various accounts, I am now ambivalent about Douglas MacArthur, especially on his overall strategy in liberating the Philippines from the Japanese forces.

Ike, it appears to me now, was a much admirable general and leader.

By the way, as the old adage goes, "nothing tougher for a son than having a famous father." General MacArthur's only son was rumored in NYC as not as "manly" as his father.

January 04, 2008 6:33 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Just want to repost this news story from BBC SPORT:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/sport2/hi/tennis/7155445.stm


quote

Organisers of next year's Australian Open have linked up with anti-corruption police to ensure the tournament remains above suspicion.

The sport has been hit by rumours of match-fixing and player betting in 2007 and Tennis Australia (TA) has formed a partnership with Victoria Police.

"Match-fixing and illegal gambling are a threat to the integrity of sport," said TA chief executive Steve Wood.

"We're putting our policies, procedures and programme in place to protect it."

World number four Nikolay Davydenko was questioned by the ATP earlier this year when a foot injury forced him to withdraw from a match against Martin Vassallo in Poland which was the subject of irregular betting patterns.

Other incidents to hit the sport include allegations of poisoning in the Davis Cup and players admitting they had been offered money to lose matches.

The Australian Open in Melbourne starts on 14 January, with the police operation headed by detective superintendent Jack Blayney.

"We want to send a very clear message to anyone intending to take part in this type of activity that we will be watching them very closely and if they are caught they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he said.

unquote

It would be a real shame if indeed game fixing had started to corrupt this game of tennis.

January 04, 2008 6:51 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Indeed, read about that game-fixing when the last Aussie Open was ongoing.

I may have a dozen rackets, mostly purchased from thrift stores here, including the wooden ones. Included are a pair of short-handled rackets, same ones used for our pelota.

Depending on which neighborhoods you find ourself residing, local thrift stores can be treasure troves for interesting and old things. And very cheap prices, too.

Earlier I found one of the wooden rackets in one of the sheds. It still has on the wooden frame used to keep it straight and aligned.

A little trivia. J. McEnroe if you recall got his big starts using a wooden racket. As a commentator, He liked to mention that fact when the occasion arose, such as when A. Agassi was hitting his power shots with his oversized racket. Interestingly, the first alum. Wilson racket I had was the one favored by J. Connors.

January 04, 2008 9:18 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

That's very interesting piece trivia re the Davis Cup. I always wondered where the Davis name came from :)

That wooden racquet is going to be a prized antique soon hehe :) It is amazing how Laver and Ashe played so well with these not so hitech tools. These days the racquets are ever so light and stiff and you can hit miles with them :)

January 05, 2008 1:16 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

You remember those guys, BW? Hehehe.

Rod Laver was one fine tennis player who gave the Americans a run for their money. When he retired, Stan Smith took the spotlight.

But Arthur Ashe used a tennis racquet considered quite high tech at that time which was designed and produced by Head. He, too, was another true gentleman on the court. He lived in the same neighborhood in Yorkville section of Manhattan were I lived back then -- a very classy man.

January 05, 2008 7:03 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

When those high tech oversized racquets became the norm, Amadeo, I began to favor watching the women's matches more. The reason: there were hardly any exciting volleys with men's matches -- it was always, if not with those blazing aces, a typical volley that would last after only two or three hits. The women, being not so powerful hitters, are able to sustain a far longer and exciting volleying.

Using a wooden racquet, in a way, hones a player's skills better than those large modern racquets.

I love rummaging through thrift shops in New York, Amadeo. Vintage and rare vinyl records and books can be found there, too. I remember a number of Japanese tourists who's go to Salvation Army's thrift shop looking for old, tattered and frayed pairs of Levis. I was told those old jeans sell for a fortune in Tokyo. Unbelievable!

January 05, 2008 7:12 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

Yes, Eric, those Japanese tourists very eager to buy any piece of Americana. Even over-priced Disney Tees. And I know some compatriots who also make the rounds in Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift stores buying those used Jeans off the racks and sending them home to be sold.

And re men's tennis matches, I feel the same nonchalance, except maybe when Federer and Nadal are playing. Because in spite of the power, they do at times get into long rallies.

But women's matches, what can I say. HeHeHe. Started with Kournikova, who I saw play in person, with legs up to her chin. She lost, but nobody was keeping score.

But I'm sorry watching the Williams' sisters play, I thought either one could beat some male players in the circuit.

January 05, 2008 8:03 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Lol ... love your observations on women's tennis, Amadeo. Very witty :)

Yes, the Federer and Nadal matches are an exception! I should also add that despite the heated rivalry, both remain respectful of the game's traditional decorum.

January 05, 2008 4:54 PM  

Blogger grumpyurbanslacker said...

re oversized racquets, i think they do have the advantage of making it easier for beginners to learn and improve and so, continue with tennis.
Kasi, in my opinion, tennis has a much steeper learning curve vs. badminton, so the drop-out rate of beginners is much higher.

i agree with your comments re federer / nadal. personally, i hope Fed breaks Sampras' Grand Slam record, he is a class act all the way.

some tennis books i own (and recommend) are:

Venus Envy by Jon Wertheim
The Right Set by Caryl Phillips
Tennis and the Meaning of Life (!!)


GUS

January 07, 2008 5:24 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Cool! So you're an avid tennis player, too, Gus :) Awesome!

Yes, I noticed I played better with the modern oversized racquets; experienced hitting the sweet spot more often, too :)

Let's see how he'll do this year. I'm sure he'll break some of Pete's records.

"Tennis and the Meaning of Life?" Whoa! I'd definitely like to read that one ... hehehe.

January 07, 2008 9:33 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

My father played tennis during his OFW days (they weren't called OFW then), so I've encountered those wooden rackets back home. Later on, though, when I would be playing in college, I used the aluminum/fiber ones (the design was actually from the last decade, haha). I miss tennis. I'm playing badminton now, but it's not giving me the same thrill.

January 08, 2008 1:33 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Had I your youthful vigor, Dave, I'd still play tennis as much as I used to. It is really a great game for both mind and body.

Nonetheless, badminton is just as fun with its court not so vast; neither is there as much running after the ball ... hehehe.

January 08, 2008 6:23 AM  

Blogger grumpyurbanslacker said...

yeah, although i'm more of a weekend hacker :D

all this talk of tennis makes me wonder, senor enrique: why don't you organize a doubles match, so we all can have some fun whacking the ball and talking about tennis (and the meaning of life?)? i'm sure some of the other guys posting on this thread would be up for it. :D

GUS

January 09, 2008 9:24 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Now that's a wonderful idea, Gus. Come to think of it, I feel like crying everytime I see my Prince racquet that I paid so much for at Toby's but to only use it twice hitting the ball against the wall over at PCC ... hehehe.

But I'd better get back in shape first, though. Don't want to be huffing and puffing after a short volley :)

Thanks, Gus!

January 10, 2008 7:59 AM  

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