The ITF has rebranded the Fed Cup, which will be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas.
According to the federation, it is the first time a major global team competition has been named after a woman, while the move 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, the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will also award the biggest annual prize fund in women’s team sports. The $12million prize money on offer means the competition will offer the equivalent to that of the men’s Davis Cup Finals.
“From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious US 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,” said, David Haggerty, President, ITF.
“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.”
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.”
The announcement of the name change comes in the week before the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Virginia Slims Circuit, which saw nine women, including King, take a stand for gender equality and form the WTA.