The International Tennis Federation announced today that the 100th Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final will be played at the O2 Arena in Prague.
Next month’s showpiece between Czech Republic and Spain, which also marks the start of the ITF’s 2013 centenary celebrations, takes place on 16-18 November.
Czech Republic defeated 2010 champions Serbia at the O2 Arena in the quarterfinals earlier this year and will be hoping the home crowd can lift them to victory over defending champions Spain in the final. There will be a seating capacity of over 13,000 spectators, with full ticket details announced in due course.
Spain is bidding for its fourth title in five years, having defeated Argentina in the 2011 Final in Seville. Czech Republic is looking for its first title since Ivan Lendl led Czechoslovakia to victory over Italy in the 1980 final in Prague at the Sportnovi Hala. Spain leads Czech Republic 4-2 in head-to-head meetings, and won their most recent encounter 5-0 at the 2009 Davis Cup Final in Barcelona.
Prague’s O2 Arena will also host the 2012 Fed Cup Final between Czech Republic and Serbia on 3-4 November, becoming the first stadium to stage both finals in the same year. The Czech Republic has also made history by becoming the first country to host both finals since the introduction of the Fed Cup World Group in 1995.
Davis Cup began in 1900 as a competition between USA and Great Britain at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. It was conceived by four members of the Harvard University tennis team, one of whom, Dwight Davis, designed a tournament format and ordered a trophy, buying it with his own money. The tournament was originally known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge, but soon became known as Davis Cup after Dwight Davis’s trophy.
Davis Cup has grown to become the largest annual international team competition in sport with 122 nations taking part in 2012. The competition celebrated its centenary year in 1999, and 2012 will see the 100th staging of the Final. The 100 finals have been held in 16 countries, with just 13 countries going on to become Davis Cup champion.
The Davis Cup itself has also grown from the silver salad bowl presented for the inaugural competition in 1900, to a 110cm-high and 107cm wide three-plinth trophy holding the original cup itself, engraved with the names of the champions. The bowl itself bears the names of the champions from 1900-1919; the tray with the 1920-1932 winners; the top two plinths with the names of the 1933-2002 champions on its silver plaques; and the recent winners on the base plinth. It is also the world’s only original major sporting cup to have lasted a century and the most well-travelled.
Prague’s O2 Arena was built in time to stage the World Ice Hockey Championships in 2004 and has since held major sporting events for ice hockey, basketball and floorball. The venue has also welcomed some of the world’s biggest music acts, including Elton John, Coldplay and Lady Gaga.