Ashley Marshall | January 1, 2017
Davis Cup is the largest annual international team competition in the world, and the U.S. is the most successful nation in its storied history.
Originally established in 1900 as a contest between America and Great Britain, the event now regularly includes more than 120 nations each year.
The Davis Cup has been held every year since 1900, with the exception of 1901, 1910, 1915-18 and 1940-45. In total, 14 countries have been crowned Davis Cup champions since the U.S. won the inaugural event. No nation has won more titles than the U.S., which has lifted the trophy 32 times.
The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in 2007 when the team of Andy Roddick, James Blake, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan lifted the trophy.
Only teams in the 16-country World Group can contest the Davis Cup on any given year. The other countries are placed into three regional zones depending on their location: Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe Africa. The U.S. will compete in the World Group in 2017.
Within each regional Zone Group, there are either three or four divisions, based on the number of countries competing.
The eight teams that win their first World Group advance to the World Group quarterfinals and are guaranteed a spot in the World Group the following year. The eight losing teams play a World Group playoff match with the eight winners from Zone Group I. These playoffs determine which teams are relegated and promoted between the World Group and Zone Group.
Similarly, nations can move up or down within the Zone Group divisions based on performance in playoffs.
In the World Group, all matches are contested as a best-of-five team series over a three-day weekend. Every tie follows the same calendar: Two singles matches are played on Friday, one doubles match is played on Saturday and two reverse singles matches – pitting each country’s top player against the other – are played on Sunday.
In the first round of World Group play, there are eight seeded nations. The top seeds are automatically the finalists from the previous year. The other six seeds are selected based on current ranking points. The seeded nations are guaranteed to play an unseeded nation in the first round.