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 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 this year.
The rename 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, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will award the biggest annual prize fund in women’s team sports.
ITF President David Haggerty said, “From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US team and founding the WTA, 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. This is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved and will provide a lasting legacy to inspire future generations of players and fans.”
King’s close personal association with the Fed Cup began at the inaugural tournament in 1963 and was cemented over the next 40 years. She went on to lift the trophy as player or captain on 10 occasions – more than any other individual in history. King was 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.”