The initial idea of the International Club was conceived at the 1923 Wimbledon Championships, when a former British Prime Minister, Arthur Balfour, was chatting with Wallis Myers, an outstanding writer, on lawn tennis. Uppermost in Balfour’s mind was the prospect of promoting international goodwill by friendship across the net. Myers in his vigour at 45, was not one to let such an opportunity pass, and on the 26th November, 1924, the IC of Great Britain was formed In the following year, steel gray and pink were selected as the Club’s colours. The IC was to foster friendship pure and uncommercialised.
In 1929, Jean Borotra was approached by Willis Myers and Lord Lyle to form a Club in France in what the former described as an “extension of the British franchise”. Jean was the first Chairman of the French Club and has participated actively since 1929. He regards tennis as a life time game and has proved to the young that it is possible to continue to play throughout a life working outside lawn tennis. Much of this has been achieved by him within the activities of the French International Club.Other great nations followed suit, the USA and Netherlands in 1931, Czechoslovakia (now disbanded) in 1933, and Sweden in 1937.Each Club organizes its own annual programme to achieve the objects as set forth in the constitution. Matches are played between International Clubs which have, over the years , enabled ex-international players to maintain their friendship made through tennis.Many Clubs assist the young tennis players of their own country by taking them on matches abroad, or holding competitions for promising young players. Many regard the ICs as an opportunity to retain their links with the game and an opportunity to put something back into the game after an active playing life has come to an end. Most Clubs will entertain visiting players on the occasion of their country’s major tournament. At Wimbledon. The IC of Great Britain holds a Reception at the Hurlingham Club and gives a Dinner Dance in the weekend before Wimbledon. The IC of the United States holds a Dinner during the American National Championships as do the Clubs of Australia and New Zealand during their National Championships, and this pattern is seen throughout mostmember countries in the world.In june 1949, the Council of International Clubs placed on record that the regulations and the administration of the game of lawn tennis in general were not the function or concern of International Clubs and that International Clubs should aid their respective Associations in every reasonable way. The council also emphasized the game of lawn tennis and all that it stands for in promoting international goodwill and comradeship, can truly be served by close co-operation of International Clubs with national associations and vice versa.
Thus, the ICs have never become involved in the politics of lawn tennis and they represent an ideal arena in which lawn tennis can be played free from the politics of the world game or the pressure of commercialism.
Membership throughout the world is restricted to players who have represented their country, who have won national championships or who have achieved a high standard of play and played in representative matches abroad e.g. for a Club or University.
Each country has its “IC” with similar rules governed by the Council of International Clubs which meets once a year at Wimbledon.