The term "International" has been associated with lawn tennis for a number of years. And appropriately so, for in no other amateur sport has there been the amount of international competition that has featured tennis in recent seasons. Davis Cup contests, the entry of American players in various European national championships and the reciprocal array of European and Australian stars in the American titular events have been of almost annual occurrence.
It is far more accented and applicable to the season of 1923 than in any past period. Several developments of international interest are responsible for the present situation. First and possibly foremost, is the entry of seventeen nations for Davis Cup play this summer. This is a new record surpassing 1922 by three nations. In no other department of international competition has such a grouping of competitive nations been exceeded with the single exception of the Olympic games, held once in every four years.
Rules to be the Same Everywhere
The term "International" has been further enhanced by the entry of the United States Lawn Tennis Association as a member of the International Lawn Tennis Federation. The latter organization is now the governing body of tennis throughout the world. Virtually every country where the game is played, holds membership. The international rules and regulations of tennis, recently revised and adopted by the International Federation will within a short time be the code in use throughout the world. Thus tennis becomes one of the few games in which the rules are absolutely the same, whether played in South Africa, Russia, Argentine, England, or the United States.
International tennis will also take a feminine angle during the coming season. American women tennis players are to compete abroad for European titles, and it is hoped that English women players and possibly those of other nations will compete in the United States. For the sterner sex, a representative foreign entry is assured for the Men's National Championship to be held at the Germantown Cricket Club, Philadelphia, beginning September 10th. This is due indirectly to the Davis Cup play.
Includes 17 Nations
Thirteen nations have been drawn to compete in the European zone and four in the American zone. In the latter group, Australia will play Hawaii while Japan meets Canada. The winning teams in each zone are to face each other later for the right to challenge the champion nation,--America. The winning nation of the European zone must come to this country and thus it will be seen that Australia, Japan, and either English, French, Spanish, Italian, or Swiss players will compete in the United States, for it is generally conceded that from this group, the European zone winner will emerge.
Since it has been customary in past years for the foreign Davis Cup teams to enter one or more of their players in the United States National Championships, which follows a few days after the Davis Cup Challenge Round, it is reasonable to assume that a similar procedure will be adopted this year.
The 1923 Davis Cup competition will undoubtedly serve greater ends than merely a competitive test between the leading tennis players of the world. I have been told many times during my official residence in Washington by ambassadors of foreign nations that International sport competition, particularly tennis, is a wonderful factor in developing closer friendships, appreciation, and mutual understanding of national characteristics. The impression gained by foreign players in a strange country, based upon the sportsmanship, camaradarie of rival players and the attitude of spectators are carried home to serve as an index of the character of the inhabitants. It is missionary work of the highest type. No game surpasses tennis in this respect.
An accomplishment of this character and magnitude is worthy of the greatest effort and concentration on the part of those who meet in international amateur sport. They can achieve results which bring the people of various nations together on the firm ground of mutual understanding, appreciation and trust which goes far to eliminate jealousy, mistrust, and danger of war. To successfully achieve such a splendid and desirable objective raises International Tennis to lofty standards far more important than the game itself.