In 1927, on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the German Lawn Tennis Association, the “Official Annual of the German Tennis Association” contained several articles on the history of tennis in Germany. One of these articles was entitled “The Story of the Homburg Cup” [“Die Geschichte des Homburger Pokals”]. (An alternative title would be “The History of the Homburg Cup”, but the tournament was still being held when the original article was written.) Its author was Karl Grauhan, the official chronicler of the German Tennis Association. His piece provides an insight into one of the most important of the early German tennis tournaments. Although a women’s singles event was held at the Homburg tournament, the article focuses on the men’s singles event. This is also the focus of my translation, which corresponds to about eighty per cent of the original article. The Homburg Cup was first held in 1894, two years after the first German Championships tournament, which was held in Hamburg. However, the German Championships were moved to Homburg for four years, from 1898 to 1901, before returning to Hamburg in 1902. This fact and the similarity between the place names of Homburg and Hamburg can be confusing, but do not have to be. Homburg is sometimes referred to as Homburg von der Höhe. ----- The Story of the Homburg Cup, by Karl Grauhan (translated by Mark Ryan) Part I of III “In another section of this book it is stated that the ‘German Championships’ were held for the first time in 1892, in Hamburg. However, the sport of tennis was already being played with great enthusiasm much earlier on in other parts of Germany. For example, English people taking the cure in Homburg von der Höhe had played tennis there as early as 1877, and a tennis club had been founded in Baden-Baden in 1881. The founding figures of that time included, amongst others, Marcel, Count von Zeppelin, the Swiss Robert Tissot, the English curate in Baden-Baden, A.T.S. White, and both of the von Fichard brothers, the eldest of whom, James von Fichard, is a retired lieutenant colonel and still lives in Karlsruhe. Herr von Fichard remains a regular spectator at the tournaments in Baden-Baden and Pforzheim; in his role as chief referee he also still actively takes part in our tournaments in Karlsruhe. In all probability he is one of the oldest tennis players still living in Germany. “Compared with today’s conditions, tennis in Baden-Baden was played in a very primitive manner in those days, on grass and using balls with no covers. The first tennis court was located roughly where the present-day Brenner’s Kurhof [now a hotel] is situated. The first international tennis tournament was held in Baden-Baden in 1884, on the same site where the present-day courts are located. Naturally the participants came mainly from England and the United States. The few German participants included the aforementioned Baron James von Fichard, who was able to win second prize in the men’s singles event. “However, the first major tournament took place in Homburg von der Höhe ten years later, in 1894. The first president of the German Tennis Association, Carl von der Meden, from Hamburg, brought the tournament into being together with the late spa director Ferdinand von Schoeler; the Homburg tournament took place after the German Championships tournament in Hamburg. At that point in time Homburg was an almost wholly English spa, known and loved in England mainly because the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, came to the lovely Taunus spa every year in August for the cure. Von der Meden and Schoeler rightly said to each other that, given this circumstance, it would not be too difficult to attract leading English tennis players to Homburg and to hold a major tournament there at the end of August, after the German Championships tournament in Hamburg. “These two gentlemen’s notions soon proved to be right, and in the 1890s one of the most splendid tournaments ever held on German soil took place in the lovely spa located at the foot of the Taunus Mountains. The degree of circumspection with which von der Meden went to work, and just how conscious he was of his goal, are shown by the fact that he was able to acquire William H. Collins, then president of the English Lawn Tennis Association, as director of the first Homburg tournament. It was comparatively easy for a man like Collins, who at that time exercised a significant amount of influence at the All England Club, to persuade some of the top English players, with whom he was friendly, to undertake the trip to Homburg with him. “One of the main factors which contributed to the success of the Homburg tournament was the patronage the tournament enjoyed from the royal personages who gathered in Homburg every year in August. In addition to the Prince of Wales, regular visitors to the Homburg tournament included the Duke of Cambridge (a cousin of Queen Victoria), the Grand Duke of Hesse, Grand Duchess Anastasia von Mecklenburg, the Crown Prince of Greece and Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich of Russia. Nearly all of these names recurred every year as prize donors at the Homburg tournament. This strong royal interest in the Homburg tournament certainly contributed significantly to the appeal of the tournament. When the leading German daily newspapers of the time regularly reported on the Homburg tournament the reason was not because of the newspaper’s or the reader’s interest in the sport of tennis, but because of the unique gathering of royal personages in Homburg. “In addition to a large number of English players, participants in the first Homburg tournament, held in 1894, included, amongst others, Count Viktor Voss-Schönau, from Mecklenburg, as well as Christian Winzer, from Hamburg, who, one year earlier, had been able to beat Count Voss in the semi-finals of the German Championships in Hamburg, and had then won the German Championships title in the Challenge Round. “To increase the appeal of the Homburg tournament the spa managers had donated the Homburg Cup, which was worth 1,200 marks, a considerable amount of money at that time. It was eventually won outright in 1898 by the elder of the two Doherty brothers, Reginald (Reggie). At the 1894 tournament the Englishman D.S.H. Hughes was able to become the first player to have his name engraved on the cup as winner. The significance of the second tournament, held in 1895, was much greater. Well-known names taking part worth noting were the German champion of that year, Count Viktor Voss, the Austrian champion P. von Hertz-Hertenried, the Dutchman C. van Rappard and the well-known Englishman Walter Howard, who for many years had been a visitor to the tournaments at the German spas. The winner of Homburg Cup in 1895 was the Australian William Cranston who beat his compatriot R.H. Forbes in the final by the score of 6-0, 6-3, 6-1. Earlier in the tournament Count Voss had been able to take a set from Cranston before losing 6-2, 1-6, 6-2. “The heyday of the Homburg Cup began in 1896 when Collins for the first time succeeded in bringing to Homburg not only the Doherty brothers, but also the redoubtable Irish champion Manliffe Goodbody and, above all, the Wimbledon champion of that year, Harold Mahony, another Irishman. However, Mahony did not enter the Homburg Cup event because at that time there was an unwritten law according to which the reigning Wimbledon champion took part only in handicap singles events or doubles events. This is also the reason why in later years, during the heyday of the Doherty brothers, they gave so many walkovers in the Homburg Cup. “In 1896, Count Voss was able to put up strong resistance against Reggie Doherty for the first time, when the latter was only able to shake the Mecklenburg Count off after losing a set, the final score being 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. In the All-Comers’ Final, Reggie Doherty had a comparatively easy victory over Manliffe Goodbody by the score of 6-0, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1. Since the previous year’s winner, William Cranston, was not defending his title, the name R.F. Doherty was immortalized on the cup for the first time. Reggie Doherty’s rise to the top more or less began with this victory because the following year – 1897 – he won the Wimbledon singles title for the first time, a title he defended successfully over the following three years. “The results of the handicap singles event in 1896 show us just how good the game of Count Voss had become by that time because Goodbody, who had the slight handicap of -4/6, was able to beat Voss only by the score of 0-6, 7-5, 9-7. Goodbody was also able to beat Lawrence (Laurie) Doherty, who had the same handicap as him (-4/6) by the score of 8-6, 6-0. In 1896, the international spectators in Homburg were compensated for the lack of a Challenge Round match by an exceptional doubles match in which, after some brilliant play, Harold Mahony and Manliffe Goodbody were able to beat the Doherty brothers. “In 1897, not as many top players participated in the Homburg tournament as had done so in 1896. Instead George Hillyard, later secretary of the All England Club at Wimbledon for many years, visited Homburg and succeeded in beating Laurie Doherty, who at that time was somewhat weaker than his brother, Reggie, in the All-Comers’ Final by the score of 6-3, 7-5. Unfortunately, in 1897, as in 1896, there was no Challenge Round between George Hillyard and Reggie Doherty because of non-stop rain. “The participants in 1897 also included the teenage Hans O. Behrens, from Hamburg, who was then only 17 years old. His desire to measure his skill against one of the Doherty brothers was fulfilled, although he played the weakest of the three brothers, the Reverend W.V. Doherty, to whom Behrens narrowly lost by the score of 8-6, 6-3.