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Anglo-American relations in tennis are a fascinating subject, particularly in the period of the late-19th/early-20th century, during which on- and off-court developments reflected and indicated broader societal shifts, as the US gradually replaced Britain as the world’s leading industrialized nation. This paper aims to discuss how Anglo-American relations in lawn tennis shifted throughout this period, from when lawn tennis was “invented” in Britain to the onset of the Great War, and to contextualize these developments in the light of shifting broader cultural relations more generally between both nations, alongside developments within sport and tennis more specifically. The following aspects are examined: attitudes toward the relative standards of both American and British players from correspondents of both nations in terms of their overall rank and possibilities of success; and, attitudes from tennis officials toward the formal organization of competitions between players of both nations.
Robert J. Lake is with Douglas College, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. Simon J. Eaves is with Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe, Cheshire, United Kingdom. Bob Nicholson is with Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, United Kingdom.