After eight years spent mostly in the gloomy vaults of the Bank of New South Wales—a sojourn interrupted by one brief visit to the U.S. in 1954—the magnificently embossed punch bowl pictured here is once again on its way to America. We say "America" advisedly because we feel, and proudly so, that the recapture of the Davis Cup this time was a truly American triumph.
Criticism of the U.S. Davis Cup committee was widespread last fall when a shy young native of Peru, who makes no claim to citizenship, was chosen to represent us. The boy himself was a likable lad with the elusive good looks and the inward manner of some woodland Pan, and few can now deny that 22-year-old Alex (The Chief) Olmedo justified his individual role in the dispute by meeting and beating the best players in Australia. But even after the victory a question remained over the propriety of his representing a land not his own. The Davis Cup, some claimed, had been won not by the U.S. but by Peru.
For all his skill Alex Olmedo did not win the Davis Cup alone. His victory was won by the concerted efforts of a U.S. team (and its advisers) whose success culminated a campaign that began many years ago when the present cup captain, Perry Jones, first began encouraging California's young tennis players.
January 12, 1959
For quibblers there is a further argument that the Davis Cup itself has a kind of built-in citizenship under which no one may represent a nation in cup play without serving three full years of resident apprenticeship in that nation, or go back again to play even for his own nation until three full years after his last match. Since few players can sustain cup caliber for more than six years, it would be a rare tennis player who could switch allegiance.
As a promising youngster in Peru, Alex Olmedo was virtually snubbed at the tennis club where his father worked as caretaker and pro. Last week, after becoming world famed under Perry Jones's tutelage: he was made a life member of the same club. "My only wish now is that he come back to us soon—with the cup," said Alex' mother Fortunata.
We don't for a minute believe that the Davis Cup now belongs rightfully in Peru, but we do think Fortunata should get a good look at it. Instead of tucking it away in some bank vault, let the USLTA crate and send the cup to Lima for an exhibition in, say, the spacious Hall of the Americas in Lima's new National Stadium, where stand 21 columns and shields symbolizing the American republics, as a token of one Good Neighbor's appreciation of another.