The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that Fed Cup is to be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup after the tennis great and founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
American King, 76, a champion on the court and a pioneer off it, she 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.
King is one of the greatest female tennis players of all time and won 39 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles competitions.
She is an advocate for gender equality and in 1973 won the Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs.
It is the first time a major global team competition has been named after a woman.
The Fed Cup is women’s tennis’ premier international team competition.
It was launched in 1963 and the United States are the most successful team in Fed Cup history having won the tournament 18 times.
King won seven Fed Cups as a player and four as the US team’s captain.