The United Cup, formed in 2022, showcases equality at the highest level of tennis. Uniting the world’s best WTA and ATP players to compete side-by-side for their countries across Australia. Ahead of the inaugural tournament Thomas Lyte were commissioned to design and craft a trophy to capture and celebrate this diversity and unity.
Thomas Lyte, a Royal Warrant holder, as silversmiths and goldsmiths to the late Queen, have designed, made, and restored some of sport’s most prestigious trophies, including the Emirates FA Cup and the ICC Test World Championship mace. We are proud to extend that roll call, having been commissioned by Tennis Australia to design and craft a trophy for one of tennis’s most exciting new tournaments, the United Cup.
Commissioned by Tennis Australia and presented for the first time in January 2023, the United Cup has been lovingly hand-crafted from hallmarked sterling silver and finished with 24-carat gold-plating. Despite being one of the most recent commissions to leave our London workshop, the trophy has already established itself as a firm favourite, which is hardly surprising given the care and attention that went into its creation during 400 hours of work.
One of the most striking aspects of this stunning piece of silverware – envisioned by Trevor Brown, Thomas Lyte’s head silverware designer – are the reflective surfaces that adorn the 50cm high trophy. These implicitly capture the energy and vitality of both the sport itself and also a competition that brings together the best male and female players on the planet – creating an equal playing-field where competitors of both genders can thrive.
Weighing 14kg, the trophy incorporates the very best in traditional silversmithing and cutting-edge modern techniques – both of which co-exist in complete harmony.
The innovative and contemporary design of the trophy features a bowl, which has been hand spun from a single sheet of sterling silver that appears to float above the trophy. The rods that surround it, another striking feature, were shaped precisely by hand and are held together in two places. This not only provides a stunning visual image, but it also gives the trophy the strength it requires to be lifted from its neck. The route the rods take from the plinth mirrors that of a tennis ball in motion. For practicality, the bowl has been created in a way that enables it to be removed – allowing it to be easily cleaned on its underside.
Hallmarked in London, the United Cup will carry the Platinum Jubilee Commemorative mark. Introduced in 2022 to celebrate her late Majesty The Queen’s 70th year on the throne. All items that are assayed in London before 31st December 2022 are given the option for their item to carry this mark.
This unique event brings together 18 teams from across the world of tennis, with the competition itself involving the very best players on both the ATP men’s tour and the WTA tour. As a curtain-raiser to each season, it’s a revolution in a sport that is constantly evolving.
Six countries qualify based on the Pepperstone ATP Ranking of their No. 1 player; six countries qualify based on the WTA Ranking of their No. 1 singles player; while six countries qualify based on the best combined ranking of their No. 1 ATP and WTA players. There will be six groups of three countries in total, with two groups per city.
Host City Finals will be held in each city, with the three winners advancing to the semi-finals along with a losing host city finalist with the best record from its three matches. In another historic first, the United Cup will offer ranking points to those involved – the first time this has happened in a mixed-gender event.
Thomas Lyte’s links with tennis are long and enduring. As well as designing and making the Nitto ATP Finals Singles Trophy and the ATP World No.1 Singles Trophy, we’re also honoured to be the restorers of two of the sport’s truly iconic prizes – the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, the former Fed Cup.
Our team make the conceivable possible, while preserving traditional skills, pioneering modern methods, and promoting authentic British craft across the globe. Combining the latest technologies with centuries of knowledge, Thomas Lyte’s silver workshops in London, England house world-class facilities for an elite team of designers and makers, masters of their craft. Learn about 3D printing, electroforming and other new technologies that our team have introduced to our sustainable handcrafting process.
Materials. Sterling Silver + 24 Carat Gold Plate
Workshop Processes. Spinning, Filing, Sanding, Annealing, Hot Forging, Polishing, Plating, and Engraving
Thomas Lyte are proud to be the designers and makers of the United Cup trophy, a spectacular trophy handcrafted for the brand-new tennis tournament launched in Australia.
Take a glance at these fast facts about what we hope will be one of the world’s most iconic sporting trophies.