The annual women’s team tennis event – which began in London in 1963 – will bring a fresh look in 2021 with the new name, honoring King, a pioneer for women’s tennis, and the most decorated player and captain in the event’s history having raised the trophy 10 times.
“Be Bold, Make History” is the new slogan of the tournament. BNP Paribas will remain as the title sponsor.
Bermuda competes in the Fed Cup.
International Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty made the announcement during a virtual press conference, joined by the tennis legend King and ITF vice president Katrina Adams.
“This is the first time a major global team competition has been named after a woman and the ITF is proud to be driving this change,” Haggerty said.
“As a global campaigner for equality, who has dedicated her life to fighting discrimination, Billie Jean King perfectly represents the values of this competition.”
“I feel a huge responsibility because I feel this as a force of change as we keep fighting for equality,” King said, about the newly bestowed honor.
“The Billie Jean King Cup will be built on the founding principles of equality, inclusion, and freedom, and it will be a showcase of programs like the ITF’s Advantage All initiative, which is our gender equality strategy for the 21st century.”
King and her U.S. teammates were victorious at the inaugural women’s team event at Queens Club in London in 1963.
“We were so excited to capture the first title on June 20th – I’ll never forget it,” she said. “Playing for our country and playing on a team has always been so fulfilling for me.”
Haggerty informed that the prize money of the annual women’s team event is being increased, making the total purse equivalent to that of the men’s Davis Cup.
In addition to BNP Paribas staying on as title sponsor of the multi-city event, Microsoft and the Magellan Corporation have signed on as new sponsors.
The American ITF chief also noted that the newly titled Billie Jean King Cup Finals, scheduled for Budapest, Hungary in April, will replace the 2020 edition, which was postponed due to Covid-19.
The Junior women’s team competition will also adopt the Billie Jean King name.