Dwight Davis

Dwight Davis

Class of 1956

Master Player

Career Achievements

Top Ranking     
U.S. No. 2 (1899, 1900)

Grand Slam Results
3-time major champion

Participant in the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games

Davis Cup
United States Team Member 1900, 1902
Member of the winning team 1900, 1902
Overall record: 2-1
Singles record: 1-0
Doubles record: 1-1

Contributions to Tennis

  • Created the Davis Cup competition
  • President of the USTLA (1923)
Citizenship: USA Born: July 5, 1879 in St. Louis, Missouri Died: November 28, 1945 Played: Left-handed

Dwight Davis had a grandiose beginning to his tennis career, capturing both the Intercollegiate Singles and Doubles titles in 1899 as a student at Harvard University. Known for his swooping left-handed serve, Davis was ranked in the U.S. Top 10 four times from 1898-1901, reaching as high as No. 2 in 1899 and 1900. Teaming with Holcombe Ward, Davis won three straight U.S. National Men’s Doubles Championships (1899-1901) and was a singles finalist in 1898 and 1899, in the round leading up to the Challenge Round.

His legacy, however, is the creation of the Davis Cup, the premier international team event in men’s tennis. In 1899, Davis, Ward, Malcolm Whitman, and Beals Wright proposed the idea of an international tennis competition. Davis bought and donated the trophy for the first contest – United States versus the British Isles. The Davis Cup has been presented to the winner of the competition ever since, which now includes more than 100 nations. 

In the inaugural Davis Cup, Davis teamed with Ward and Whitman to propel the United States to a 3-0 victory over British Isles at the Longwood Cricket Club in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Davis participated in the 1904 Olympics in his native St. Louis, Missouri, advancing to the second round in singles. He played doubles with Ralph McKittrick, another St. Louis native, advancing to the quarterfinals. In 1911, Davis became St. Louis Park Commissioner, building dozens of city tennis courts. He served as President of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (1923) and had an impressive political career, serving as Secretary of War as a member of President Calvin Coolidge’s cabinet (1925-29). He then became governor-general of the Philippines under President Herbert Hoover (1929-32).

Grand Slam

Grand Slam Best Results


3 Doubles

U.S. Nationals: 1898, 1899*

Wimbledon: F 1901
U.S. Nationals: 1899, 1900, 1901


*U.S. Nationals Singles Finals resulted in losses in the round leading up to the Challenge Round