About the IC

January 2017

Aims & Objectives


"The International Lawn Tennis Clubs or "ICs" as they are affectionately known around the world, have these core values:

  • Enhancing international understanding and goodwill through sport, specifically tennis 
  • Playing matches between nations among tennis players who have played representative tennis overseas
  • Maintaining, encouraging and developing the highest standards of good sportsmanship among players of all nations, in particular among young players
  • Enhancing the lives of young people, many of whom may come from disadvantaged backgrounds, through teaching them the value of sport and tennis, in particular
  • Welcoming and entertaining tennis players visiting their country from abroad

Objectives and Outcomes

As we reflect on the challenges which face the world today, it is encouraging to find elements in sport that embrace the better aspects of man’s ability to endure nation to nation. 96 years since the founding of the first IC, the International Clubs have aims and objectives that have evolved to meet the needs of a changing society which ensuring that the Clubs maxim ‘hands across the net, friendship across the ocean’ remains valid and is sustainable.

We are now 42 Clubs playing on all five continents of the world. There are only a few of the major tennis-playing nations that do not yet have an International Club.  We will continue to encourage new nations to join. Players aspiring to create an IC are asked to ensure they will pursue with vigour our core values.

The fun side of what we do is to play matches nation-to-nation in a series of bilateral, quadrilateral and multilateral events. The events between two nations are numerous and often have their origins going back many decades. For example, the French and the British have enjoyed biannual matches going back 90 years - and have played each other 169 times!! There are now many other bilateral matches building great traditions. 

The multi-IC events, sometimes involving golf, include the Wallenberg Trophy introduced by Sweden where four nations play a mixed match annually. The French have recently incorporated, in memory of Robert Abdessalam, the former French IC President and Davis Cupper, a trophy for countries with which he was most closely associated, involving on a permanent basis Belgium and Spain, with one invited nation. The IC of the Czech Republic invite four nations every year to Prague in June.

The Council of ICs, which has administered the family of International Clubs worldwide since 1946, oversees a series of regular IC Council events hosted by different ICs every few years, and usually to celebrate an important anniversary.  Our flagship IC Council event, in which there is an open section, is the IC Week where men’s teams play for the Windmill Trophy and women’s teams for the Mercelis Trophy.  For the veterans age-groups we run these trophies: the Columbus and Juego de Pelota (both for men) and the La Carreta (for women).   We run the Potter Cup - an annual event where the world’s best veteran players (men over 45 and women over 40) come to Barcelona for a long weekend to play the best veterans’ tennis on clay anywhere in the world.

Our third, and probably most important objective, is to maintain the standard of sportsmanship and understanding among players of all nations and young players in particular. The culture of good sportsmanship is seen throughout our events. It is rare to see a moment of uncontrolled anger or a serious line call dispute in an IC match.

The Council makes a prestigious sportsmanship award in the name of Jean Borotra, the great French tennis player and former President of the IC of France and the IC Council.  The Jean Borotra IC Sportsmanship Award is made to an international player who has shown outstanding sportsmanship throughout his or her career or perhaps even on an individual occasion of remarkable significance. Over the last 15 years the award has been won by: Stefan Edberg, Chris Evert, Todd Martin, Maria Bueno, Pat Rafter, Kim Clijsters, Mats Wilander, Roger Federer, Stefanie Graff, Rod Laver and Gabriela Sabbatini.  We are delighted that CQS, a major supporter of the IC Council, has agreed to add their name to the Award.

Our objective of involving young players carries a more important message. Young players who have set their sights on an international tennis career, often know little of the history of tennis and they also play relatively few team matches. Promising young players take part in our bilateral matches. In 2004 we introduced the IC Junior Challenge, where boys and girls (16 and under) represent their countries to take part in elimination team competitions on their continent, followed by world finals at different venues every.  In 2014 the world finals were held on the grass at the All England Club, Wimbledon; in 2016 at the Monte Carlo Country Club, and in 2018 in Tokyo. The boys and girls travel as a team.  They are made aware of the requirements of ‘fair play’ within the community of sport. There is a strong cultural element to their programme.  They participate in hosting a clinic for disadvantaged children.  In this way, we seek to achieve our fourth major objective mentioned above. The IC Junior Challenge received tremendous support from Compass for its 14 years of the event, and we proud that the Fundação Lemann has taken over their mantle.

As a relatively senior institution in tennis, the notion of ‘giving back’ is important to us. Recognising that, with a network of 42 ICs around the world, we could do more, we have launched a philanthropic programme: IC Philanthropy. We have benefitted over many years from private donors, but we are now incorporating IC Philanthropy as a charity. My predecessor, Barry Weatherill, will chair IC Philanthropy. We now host clinics at nearly all our events.  We are running major, sustainable programmes in Australia, Cambodia, Chile, Ethiopia, Mexico, South Africa and Uruguay; in certain disadvantaged urban areas of the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the UK; and with certain groups of disadvantage children in New Zealand and Spain.  These programmes are often supported by other charities in an IC’s jurisdiction. We are affiliated to the ITF and have an MOU with them to benefit from an association with their Development Programme.

It is not possible to operate an international network without adequate income, a management structure and a professional executive. Good governance and management underpin all our activities.

We have been fortunate to have the support of some outstanding and loyal donors. Lacoste have helped us on a continuous basis since 2005 and have always had a very close association with the IC of France; Compass who contributed the lion’s share of the cost of the IC Junior Challenge for 14 years; Fundação Lemann who took over from Compass; Banque de Luxembourg whose help allows the Council to support IC Philanthropy; and CQS who are supporting the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award and our efforts to promote sportsmanship throughout our events. We are extremely grateful to them all for their assistance.

I share the confidence of my predecessor, Barry Weatherill, who said that:

“in the area in which the ICs aim to operate, and with the help of our many colleagues in Clubs around the world, the ICs can bring about greater friendship and understanding between nations, provide hugely enjoyable tennis to those who participate in our activities, ensure that the objective of good sportsmanship is alive and well and provide, through tennis, a means of adding hope to the lives of disadvantaged young people”.

Peter McQuibban

Council of International Clubs



IC Timeline

WA. Wallis Myers, supported by Lord Balfour, the service British Prime Minister, and Dwight David, donor of the Davis Cup, founds the International Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain in a meeting at the RAC Club in London.  The IC’s post-war purpose was to cement the ties that bind all international players: “hands across the net, in fact, means hands across the ocean.” The IC’s colours are pink and grey.

 IC of France becomes the second IC, adding a second pink stripe to the IC of GB’s grey tie.

IC of the USA becomes the third IC, adding a third pink stripe

At the start of the Second World War there are six ICs. The three new ones are: The Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and Sweden.  More stripes on the tie. Czechoslovakia has already succumbed to the political pressures of the pre-war period and is in suspense, a state of affairs that lasts until after the end of the Cold War. 

The IC resumes its activities after the Second World War: the ICs meet in Paris.

The Council of International Lawn Tennis Clubs (IC Council) is formed in London to approve the formation of new ICs and protect and foster the ideals of the IC.  Representatives of all ICs will meet once year during Wimbledon.

The IC of The Netherlands hosts a “festival of tennis” the first of many IC Weeks. It inaugurates the Windmill Trophy.

The Seal of the IC, with its view of the tennis court and the world, is adopted. Benvolentia (Goodwill), Virtus (Valour), Amicitia (Friendship), and victory through Aequitas (Sportsmanship) is its motto.

There are now 14 ICs: Belgium, Argentina, Denmark, South Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand and Italy have added their pink stripes.

The Potter Cup, a veterans’ competition for men, is established, playing first in Biarritz before moving to Barcelona.

The Orsini Trophy is established as an IC Council's men’s consolation event in IC Weeks.

There are now 20 ICs: Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Mexico, Japan and Monaco have joined.

7 new ICs are formed in the 80s making 27 in all: Monaco, Uruguay, Luxembourg, Brazil, Pakistan, Israel and The Bahamas

Ladies became eligible for ordinary playing membership of the IC in 1988; and in 1989 the IC of GB becomes the first to elect women members: Winnie Wooldridge and France Taylor.

Juniors become eligible for junior associate membership of the IC.

The Columbus Trophy for senior veterans’ men (Over-55 and Over-65) is established as an IC Council Event.

The Mercelis Trophy for women is established as an IC Council event during IC Weeks.

6 new ICs are formed in the 90s making 33 in all: Hong Kong, Hungary, Austria, Norway, Ireland and Russia Stefan Edberg is the first winner of the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

IC Week on grass at the All England Club Wimbledon celebrates the IC of GB's 75th Anniversary. Winnie Wooldridge Trophy is established as the IC Council's women’s consolation event in IC Weeks.

Chris Evert wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

Todd Martin wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

Maria Bueno wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

The IC Junior Challenge, a team event for 16 and under boys and girls, is established. The Compass Group are major donors.

Pat Rafter wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

Lacoste, long-time supporters of the IC of France, become donors to the IC Council.

HSBC support the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

Banque de Luxembourg become donors to the IC Council and support the IC’s first philanthropy project for under-privileged children in Burundi.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held in Sydney.

Gabriela Sabatini runs the first philanthropy clinic for under-privileged children at the IC Junior Challenge regional event in Argentina.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held in Auckland.

IC Council founds IC Philanthropy (ICP) to help under-privileged children through tennis.

Kim Clijsters wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held in New Delhi.

ICP forms a partnership with “Give it Your Max” to run The Tennis Ball which funds ICP projects.

Gustavo Kuerten wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

Matts Wilander wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship Award.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held in Adelaide.

Roger Federer wins the IC Jean Borotra CQS Sportsmanship Award. CQS supports the IC of the Czech Republic’s June 4-Nations Event in Prague and becomes a major donor to the IC Council giving its name to the IC Jean Borotra CQS Sportsmanship Award.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held on the grass at Wimbledon.

Steffi Graff wins the IC Jean Borotra CQS Sportsmanship Award.

Rod Laver wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship CQS Award.

IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals are held at the Monte Carlo Country Club.

Gabriela Sabatini wins the IC Jean Borotra Sportsmanship CQS Award.

First Ladies Potter Cup event, named the Two Presidents' Cup.

IC of Japan hosts IC Junior Challenge World Finals in Tokyo and celebrates its 40th Anniversary.

The Fundação Lemann and Palantir Technologies take over from The Compass Group as the ICJC’s major donors.

9 new ICs are formed in the second millennium making 42 ICs in all: Barbados, Bulgaria, Bermuda, Finland, Romania, Singapore, Chile and Croatia.

The IC has 4,500 members worldwide.

ICP is sustaining 13 international projects.

Rod Laver gives his name to the IC Junior Challenge Worldwide Finals.

IC Week in Le Touquet celebrates IC of France's 90th Anniversary.

The coronavirus forces the cancellation of many IC events and postpones the award of the 2019 IC Jean Borotra CQS Award to Rafael Nadal. The IC Council introduces videoconferencing for its meetings.