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 PERIOD OF U.S. INFLUENCE (1902 - 1936)
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 1930s
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.
DAVIS CUP 1900 - PRESENT
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.