Professional Tennis

ITF launches Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas

ITF launches Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas
  • The new name for the women’s world cup of tennis is heralded as a “fitting tribute” to Billie Jean King – an icon of the game and lifelong campaigner for social justice and equality
  • The first major global team competition to be named after a woman
  • The rebrand follows last year’s landmark changes to the competition format and the increase in player prize money to $12million, which brought Fed Cup in line with the equivalent men’s tournament, Davis Cup
  • First Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas finals to be held in Budapest, Hungary, next year

The ITF has today announced that Fed Cup, the women’s world cup of tennis, has been renamed the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas.

It is the first time a major global team competition has been named after a woman, ushering in a new era for the historic tournament and representing a landmark moment for sport.  A champion on the court and a pioneer off it, Billie Jean King is a global campaigner for equality who has dedicated her life to fighting discrimination in all its forms. The values she represents epitomise the ethos of a tournament that has evolved to become the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 116 nations entered in 2020.

The rename also follows the introduction of a new finals format that will bring the 12 best nations together over one week in Budapest to compete to become world champions. From 2021, under its new name, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will award the biggest annual prize fund in women’s team sports – equivalent to that offered to the men playing Davis Cup Finals.

ITF President David Haggerty said, “From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first President, to being the first female athlete awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground. Today she adds another ‘first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved and will provide a lasting legacy that will inspire future generations of players and fans.”

King’s close personal association with the Fed Cup began at the inaugural tournament and was cemented over the next 40 years. She went on to lift the trophy on a total of 10 occasions – more times than any other individual in history – triumphing seven times as a player and four times as a captain (including once as a player-captain).  King was presented with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence in recognition of her achievements in 2010, before being appointed as the competition’s first Global Ambassador in 2019.

Billie Jean King said, “There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me. It is an honour to have the women’s world cup of tennis carry my name and a responsibility I will not take lightly.  Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”

10 European nations are set to take part in the first edition of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals when they held in Budapest from 18-21 April 2021. Joining hosts Hungary will be teams from Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.


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