Tennis fans love The Davis Cup, where countries vie against each other on the courts. Following the thrill of Wimbledon and the Summer Olympics - which included tennis - this year's Davis Cup World Group Playoffs will be more exciting than ever. Scheduled for Sept 14-16, the playoffs will take place in venues all around the world.
The world's first Davis Cup match-up was a US-UK battle. Held in Boston, the cup challenge had been conceived a year earlier, in 1899, when four members of Harvard's tennis team convinced his teammates they should challenge The British Isles to a duel of the sporting variety.
Spain vs USA in Davis Cup 2011 in Austin — Photo courtesy of jdnOne of the players, Dwight Davis, paid for the first trophy himself, and thus "the Davis cup" name stuck. Today the tournament is the world's largest annual international team competition in sports, with an unbelievable 130 nations involved at last count.
During the last 12 years, winners have included Spain, Russia, Croatia and Serbia. This year we'll see Australia flying to Hamburg, Germany to do battle; South Africa will take on Canada in Montreal; Roger Federer and the Swiss team will be playing home court team The Netherlands; Russia takes on Brazil in Sao Jose do Rio Preto; and Chile will try to one-up Italy in Naples.
Patriotic tennis fans get the ultimate thrill when cheering for their own country in a vacation setting.