Fed Cup to be re-named Billie Jean King Cup
LONDON (UK) – The inaugural Fed Cup is being re-named in honour of Billie Jean King, who helped the United States win after 60 years.
The competition, which saw a revamp this year would from 2021 be known as the Billie Jean King Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.
This year’s finals were postponed for a year because of the pandemic.
King, a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, said, “Very proud, very humbled. I keep thinking it’s a dream. And then I start thinking about what an opportunity this is to help the game grow globally.
“(The Federation Cup) was 63 years behind the Davis Cup but we’ve gone from 16 to 116 nations.
“We have equal prize money to the Davis Cup and this sends out an important and strong message of equality.”
The Billie Jean Cup, sponsored by BNP Paribas, would be the first major competition on a global level to be named after a woman.
ITF President David Haggerty paid tribute to King’s fight for gender equality in sport and society.
Haggerty said, “From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious U.S. team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the U.S. 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.”
King was part of the team that won the inaugural competition, which was then known as the Federation Cup
“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,” she said.
“Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”
France, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland will take part in next year’s inaugural Billy Jean King Cup Finals.