Despite the fact that we always had at least one TOP 100 player in past tennis generations, reaching the final is a great success in itself, knowing that since the Davis Cup was first held (1899), Hungarians have reached the World Group only three times. First in 1994, in 1996, and for the last time in 2018. Hungary will now play Australia on November 27 in Turin, Italy.
The Davis Cup was invented by two Harvard University students with the aim of organizing tournaments first at the American level and later at the international level. The history of the Davis Cup began in 1899, when Harvard University student Dwight Filley Davis, together with Holcombe Ward, won the college championship and later became US tennis champions. They wanted to expand the championship first to the whole United States, and later to the world.
“Tennis in the West will make great progress in the future. We need to set up a big international series of matches that will attract attention and interest not only here, but all over the world,” the founders had said.
The Hungarian national tennis team wanted to take part in the Davis Cup for the first time in 1924, but the international federation refused to allow their participation because Hungary and Austria, as losing powers of the First World War, had not been accepted into the federation. The decision was met with great international indignation and was therefore withdrawn, so that 1924 went down in tennis history as the year of Hungary’s first appearance.
In 1956, Hungary did not participate in the competition because of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Yet in 1966, there was a record attendance at the Hungary-Great Britain quarterfinal in Budapest, where 20,000 spectators supported the András Szikszay-István Gulyás Davis Cup team during the four-day match.
In the history of the Davis Cup, Hungary has played a total of 166 matches with a record of 83-83. One of the most famous Hungarian tennis players, Balázs Taróczy, has played the most matches with 33 Davis Cup matches and is also the most successful player with 76 wins and only 19 losses. Kornél Bardóczky was a member of the Hungarian national tennis team for the longest time, 15 years.
Many compare the success of the Hungarian tennis team with the qualification of the Hungarian soccer team for the European Championship in 2016. The Davis Cup is a special event in men’s tennis in any case, where the players, who fight for ranking points and prize money all year round, become national players for a few weekends and finally play in the world group, for which they then qualify. This is where the 18 best teams in the world meet. And, of course, the fight is organized with the best TOP players. This year, among others, the world number 1, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, Britain’s Cameron Norrie, as well as Italy’s Janik Sinner, will be there. The German players are Jan-Lennard Struff, Dominik Koepfer, and Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The 12 qualifiers are Australia, Austria, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden, and the United States. Last year’s semifinalists were Spain, Canada, Great Britain, and the Russian Tennis Federation. Two wildcard nations, France and Serbia, complete the 18-team field.
The Hungarian team is mixed in terms of age and career span. Two-time junior Grand Slam champion and former junior world number one, multiple finalist and one-time ATP world champion, Márton Fucsovics, currently ranked 40th in the world, is the most experienced player in the field. In the first half of the year, Fucsovics was in top form, as evidenced by the fact that in July at Wimbledon, he beat several top-20 players (including Márton’s opponent, the No. 5 ranked Rublev) and reached the quarterfinals, where he could only be stopped by Djokovic. At the ATP 500 final, only Rublev was able to defeat him. In Rotterdam in March, the two played each other in the final. In the second half of the season, Fucsovics’ bombastic form unfortunately diminished due to a shoulder injury, but since the ATP 1000 Masters in Paris he has been showing very good performances on the court again.
Attila Balázs (131) is the oldest player on the Hungarian team. His biggest successes so far have been a semifinal at the BRD Năstase Țiriac Trophy in Bucharest in 2012, where he lost to Fabio Fognini, a semifinal at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro in 2020, where he finished in the top 100 for the first time in his career, and the final of the Croatia Open Umag 2019 in Umag, where he lost to Serbian Dušan Lajović. He has been a member of the Hungarian Davis Cup team since 2009.
Zsombor Piros (282), a two-time Junior Grand Slam champion, is the youngest player on the team. He recently competed in an ATP Challenger final in Bratislava, beating several top-100 players.
Other players on the Hungarian team include Gábor Borsos (867 in doubles), who had his career high in ATP singles of 551. His highest ATP ranking in doubles is 188, set on November 13, 2017. Borsos has won 23 ITF doubles titles.
Levente Gödry‘s highest ATP ranking in singles is 934, reached on August 25, 2014. His highest ATP ranking in doubles is 512, reached on January 28, 2019. Gödry has won 6 ITF doubles titles.
Hungary will already play their first-round in Group D on Saturday, where they will face two very strong teams, Australia and Croatia, for advancement. If Hungary wants to get ahead, they will probably have to beat either the USA or Italy in the next round, but that is to be determined. Fingers crossed for the Hungarian team on Saturday the 27th. Go, guys!