January 2017 The IC Story It was after the First World War when there was a sudden surge of interest and success from overseas competitors at Wimbledon that the idea of an International Club was born. Arthur Wallis Myers, a keen tennis and golf player, and Dwight Davis, the donor of the Davis Cup were discussing the need to restore faith in the value of international friendships. Myers, who was then also influenced by the former Prime Minister, Lord Balfour, wanted to establish some way of nurturing and preserving the camaraderie that existed between young competitors of so many countries who met in serious but friendly rivalry at tournaments around the world each year. Accordingly, on the 26th of November 1924 at the Royal Automobile Club, Myers explained his ideas to an attentive gathering of tennis players. ‘We are seeking to cement the ties that bind us to all international players, to exchange greetings with them from time to time, to offer them hospitality when they come in our midst. Hands across the net, in fact, means hands across the ocean.’ And so the IC was formed. Its purpose was of social and non-political nature and was to bring together a society of players who have toured in and been educated by overseas countries. As it still stands today, it was considered a great honour to be invited to wear the distinctive grey tie with the single pink stripe, and not every player who participated abroad automatically became a member. Consequently, the first overseas nation to form an International Club was France in 1929 and then followed by the Americans a year later. Fittingly, their ties were of two and three pink stripes respectively. The IC Council was then established in 1947 to approve the formation of new ICs and to protect and foster the ideals of existing ICs. Today there are 42 ICs of the world with over 4,500 members worldwide and 13 philanthropy projects being sustained. Most importantly, the original concept of Wallis Myers still stands today as players of all nations compete with the highest standard of sportsmanship and come together afterwards in social union, signifying the IC spirit of ‘hands across the net, friendship across the ocean’.