The Federation Cup will become the Billie Jean King Cup

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) today unveiled the Fed Cup's new name, the Women's Team Tennis World Cup, renamed “Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas”.

The new name of the women's tennis world cup is presented as a worthy tribute to Billie Jean King, a reference in sport and activist for equality and social justice.

It is the first major team tournament to be named after a woman The new name follows the path of historic changes to the championship format and the increase in prize money to $ 12 million, matching it with its equivalent in tennis men's, Davis Cup.

Billie Jean King is an equality activist who has dedicated her life to fighting discrimination in all its forms. The values ​​she represents symbolize the philosophy of a championship that has evolved into the largest annual international team competition in women's tennis, with 116 nations entered in 2020.

The new name follows the path of other changes such as the new format of the finals that will bring together the 12 best national teams in Budapest to compete for a week for the title of world champions. Starting in 2021, under its new name, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will award the largest annual prize in a women's team sport, matching the prize the finalists receive in its men's equivalent, the Davis Cup.

ITF President David Haggery has said “Billie Jean King has not stopped breaking new ground, he competed in the first Fed Cup as a member of the American team that won in 1963, She founded the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and became its first president and was the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States. Today add another “first time” to that list.

Tennis player Billie Jean King's close relationship with the Fed Cup began at the inaugural tournament and has been consolidated over the past 40 years. She lifted the champion cup 10 times, more times than anyone else in history, seven as a player and four as a captain, and including one as a player-captain. King received the Fed Cup Award of Excellence in 2010 in recognition of all her accomplishments, before becoming a global ambassador for the tournament in 2019.

“There is nothing like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, that's why this competition is so important and special to me. It is an honor that the women's tennis world cup bears my name and it is a responsibility that I will not neglect. Our job is to share this vision with future generations of girls, because if you can see it, you can be it, “said Billie Jean King herself.

The new name offers a unique opportunity to increase visibility and investment in women's tennis. BNP Paribas, historical sponsor of the world of tennis, has supported women's tennis since 2006 through the Women's World Cup, IFT's flagship.

The ITF also today introduced Microsoft as an Official Technology and Innovation Sponsor, representing a further step in embracing King's legacy of progress and advancement by incorporating real-time information and data on the Billie Jean King Cup tracks.

By matching the amount of the prize and increasing the chances of participating teams to compete for the title of world champions, the competition has today become the best platform for the ITF to carry out its strategy to promote gender equality – one of the key pillars of its strategy until 2024.

The significant change in the name of the championship not only recognizes the trajectory of Billie Jean King, but also guarantees that the tennis player will continue to be a reference for future generations.

Katrina Adams, Vice President of the ITF, Chair of the Fed Cup Committee and the ITF Committee for Gender Equality in Tennis has recognized that “this new title represents a historic moment for our sport. The Davis Cup is named after a man, so it is entirely understandable that the Women's Tennis World Cup is also named after a woman. Considering all that he has achieved in our sport and his tireless effort to achieve equality around the world, I don't think there is a better person to name the cup than Billie Jean King. “

The announcement of the name change comes just a week before the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Virginia Slims Circuit in which nine women, including Billie Jean King, risked everything to fight for equal rights in the world of tennis.

The mobilization of the tennis players, known as the “original nine”, was the germ of the creation of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA for its acronym in English) and made tennis a benchmark in the fight for equal rights in sport and in society.