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On Wednesday 16th and Friday 18th June 2010 the International Lawn Tennis Clubs (ICs) of Great Britain and of France will play their 150th match against each other.
The IC of Great Britain was founded in 1924 and is the oldest of the 38 ICs worldwide. The French IC followed in 1929 and that was also the year of the first match between the two oldest ICs in the world. With the exception of the World War years the two clubs have played each other twice each year with one match in France and one in Great Britain. This year the 149th match was played in Paris and won narrowly by France and the 150th match will be played on the 16th and 18th of June on the grass courts at Edgbaston Priory in Birmingham and at St. George’s Hill in Weybridge.
There will be few if any international events in any sport which can boast such a long and colourful history of matches. Initially, the great stars of the time played in these matches and overseas guests were included in the teams. Names like Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, Bunny Austin, Henri Cochet, Toto Brugnon and many others featured in the early matches later on followed by Frank Sedgman, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad and Neale Fraser. But without a doubt the all time star is the French Musketeer and founder of the IC of France, Jean Borotra, who played in all of the first 100 matches and played singles, doubles and mixed doubles in the centenary match at the age of 87!
These days the matches between the two clubs do not attract the champion players anymore as they are playing on the ATP and WTA tours. Past top players, now often representing their countries in senior events, do however continue to participate, and these days they are accompanied by promising juniors who get some useful international experience this way.
Both ICs are looking forward with great expectation to this unique occasion of the 150th match between two very old clubs.