The 1965 Davis Cup at Samuell Grand Tennis Center. (Photo courtesy of the City of Dallas archive.)

Sometimes it’s easy to miss the obvious. Despite a commemorative sign outside the Samuell Grand Tennis Center, you might not know that international tennis history was made in our neighborhood.

In 1965, East Dallas sealed its place in history when it hosted the first Davis Cup at a public park. The Samuell Grand courts had opened just two years before as a competition space and training area for neighborhood kids.

During the match, the U.S. men’s team beat Mexico in the American Zone final. Arthur Ashe, the first African-American on the U.S. Davis Cup team, helped clinch the victory by winning his two singles matches. One was against Mexico’s No. 1 player, Rafael Osuna. The U.S. team later lost to Spain in the semifinal.

The Davis Cup, which began as a competition between the United States and Great Britain, is now the world’s largest annual international sports team competition. More than 130 countries are entered in the 2019 tournament.

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