PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC: The second day of the 2012 Final began with the launch of the Davis Cup Commitment Award, a new award conceived as part of the ITF’s 2013 Centenary celebrations and presented to Davis Cup players who have shown long-standing dedication to representing their country in this prestigious competition.
Each award recipient will have competed in a minimum of 20-home-and-away ties or 50 ties at any level of the competition (including zone group events) over their career. A total of 299 players have already qualified to receive the award, of whom 252 are still alive.
Inside the O2 Arena, a special on-court ceremony welcomed the first seven winners of the award, presented by ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti:
Nicola Pietrangeli (Italy): Holds the record for the most Davis Cup home-and-away ties, with 66 ties between 1954 and 1972. As a player, he reached the final in 1960 and 1961; and as a captain he led Italy to the Davis Cup title in 1976.
Domenico Vicini (San Marino): Holds the record for the most ties at all levels of the competition, having taken part in 87 ties since making his debut in 1993. He played his most recent tie in May this year.
Manolo Santana (Spain): Has played the most ties for Spain, with 47 ties between 1958 and 1973. He also helped Spain reach their first two Davis Cup finals in 1965 and 1967.
Juan Gisbert (Spain): Played 37 ties for his country between 1965 and 1976, and was another member of Spain’s 1965 and 1967 Davis Cup Final teams.
Jan Kodes (Czech Republic): Played the most number of his ties for his country, with 39 ties between 1966 and 1980. He was a member of Czechoslovakia’s 1980 Davis Cup Final winning team here in Prague.
Tomas Smid (Czech Republic): Played 31 ties for his country between 1977 and 1989, and won two matches for Czechoslovakia in their Davis Cup Final triumph over Italy.
Feliciano Lopez (Spain): Played the most ties of any current Spanish player, with 20 ties since 2003. He has been a member of three Spanish Davis Cup Final winning teams.
The eighth winner, Tomas Berdych, will be presented with his award on Sunday. Berdych has played 22 ties since making his Davis Cup debut in 2003, and this weekend is taking part in his second Davis Cup final.
The Commitment Award trophies are based on the design of the current Davis Cup trophy. All recipients will also be recognised on an honours board at the ITF headquarters in London and in a dedicated section on the official Davis Cup website.
Over 5,000 players in history have taken part in Davis Cup, which began in 1900 as a competition between USA and Great Britain at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. The event has grown to become the largest annual international team competition in sport with 122 nations taking part in 2012. Over 500 players contest Davis Cup every year.
The ITF through its National Associations will make presentations to award winners at Davis Cup home ties throughout 2013 as part of the ITF Centenary celebrations.