Fed Cup renamed
Billie Jean King Cup
Arthur Kapetanakis | September 17, 2020
Fed Cup has as new name to go with its new finals format.
The ITF announced Thursday that the competition has been renamed the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas. The historic rebrand marks the first time a major, global team competition has been named after a woman. Known as the world cup of tennis, the tournament is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 116 nations entered in 2020.
King, for whom the USTA National Tennis Center was renamed in 2006, won the competition 10 times in her career—seven times as a player and four times as a captain (including once as a player-captain). She was instrumental in securing equal pay at the US Open, beginning in 1973, and before that founding women’s professional tennis as part of the Original Nine.
From 2021, under its new name, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will award the biggest annual prize fund in women’s team sports. ADVERTISEMENT The $12 million purse is equivalent to that offered at the men’s Davis Cup Finals.
“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," King said. "It is an honor 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.”
King won the inaugural Fed Cup with Team USA in 1963 and, more recently, was presented with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence in 2010 before being appointed as the competition’s first global ambassador in 2019.
"There is no individual that is more deserving of this recognition, and no more appropriate namesake for this competition, than Billie Jean King, said Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Billie is an icon of this sport, and a champion in the truest sense of the word. We applaud the decision to formally change the name of Fed Cup to the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas, and look forward to the competition's return."
Added ITF president David Haggerty: “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 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.”
The ITF also announced Friday a partnership with Microsoft to bring real-time data insights to the competition. It's all part of a powerful platform that will help the ITF deliver on its Advantage All gender equality initiative, with King at its heart as a role model for generations to come.
“This rebrand represents a significant moment in our sport," said Katrina Adams, ITF vice president and USTA immediate past president. “The Davis Cup is named after a man, so it is absolutely right that the women’s world cup of tennis is named after a woman. Given all she has achieved in our sport and her tireless efforts to champion equality around the world, I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this honor than Billie Jean King.”
READ MORE: Billie Jean King talks Fed Cup in 2019