Looking back on Philippine Tennis ….


Tennis in the Philippines began at the turn of the 20th century when the country was ceded to the United States consequent to the Spanish-American war. In May, 1902, General Malvar, the most persistent of the Filipino Generals, made peace with America. With the end of the war, came the first of the Governors-General, and tennis.

At the time, army officers stationed in the walled city, laid aside their sabres and, on improvised courts adjoining the Sta. Lucia barracks, engaged in the first exhibition of tennis that was witnessed by Filipinos. Today, Governors-General are merely pleasant memories but the sport of tennis continues to enslave a completely willing people.


The high priority given education in U.S. policy during the first few years of American rule resulted in pedagogical explosion. Hundreds of school teachers came from the United States which trained Filipino teachers so rapidly that by 1927, they constituted nearly all of the 26,200 in the public schools. Literacy doubles to nearly 50% in the 1930’s and educated Filipinos acquired a common language and a linguistic key to Western civilization as well as Western Sports like basketball, track and field, baseball, and lawn tennis. With excelled in academics and muscle-flexing events. The Philippines won the overall title during the inaugural staging of the Far Eastern Games which included Japan and China in 1913. In tennis, the first Filipino champion was Gil Fargas of Laong Laan A.C. beating Edwin S. Gee in 1915.


One significant development from the early years of tennis is the inception of the Davis Cup. The Davis Cup was donated by Dwight F. Davis of St. Louis in 1900 to foster international competition between nations. A Harvard student and the inter-scholastic Doubles Champion of America. Davis went on to become an influential politician under the administration of President Hoover.

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