The Thomas Cup is a men’s team event in badminton. It is often referred as the World Men’s Team Badminton Championships. It is contested between countries who are a part of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).
In 1939, Sir George Elan Thomas, a leading English shuttler pitched the idea of a men’s global team competition. The format was inspired by tennis’ Davis Cup. The proposed model of Thomas was accepted and an inaugural edition was planned for 1941. However, the second World War delayed the event. In 1948, the inaugural Thomas Cup was finally held. Ten teams participated in the maiden Thomas Cup.
Up until 1982, the event was played every three years. Starting in 1984, the tournament was scheduled to be held every two years. The winner is presented the Thomas Cup, also known as The International Badminton Championship Challenge Cup. The format of the Thomas Cup as of 2023 includes a qualification scenario based on which teams compete against each other. A total of 16 teams are chosen. The defending champions and the host nations are automatically qualified. An African, Asian and Pan American regional continental competition was held. The winners of the African and Pan American competition fill up one slot each. The top three teams in the Asian competition are given three slots. The remaining nine slots are filled based on the World Team Rankings of each region.
The 16 teams are divided into four groups. The top two teams from each group progress to the knock-out stages. A team can have no more than 12 players representing their nation. Each tie features three singles and two doubles matches. Matches are played in a best of three-sets format. Except the knock-out matches, all league matches complete the five scheduled matches even if a team has taken an unassailable lead of 3-0. This is because the number of matches and games won decide the better team in a group featuring a tie.
The most successful teams of the Hopman Cup are Indonesia, China and Malaysia, who have won 14,10 and 5 titles each. Denmark, Japan and India have won one title each.