Earlier today, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that the Fed Cup – the annual women’s team tournament – will be renamed the Billie Jean King Cup beginning with next April’s Finals in Budapest, Hungary.
“As a global campaigner for equality, who has dedicated her life to fighting discrimination, Billie Jean King perfectly represents the values of this competition,” ITF President David Haggerty said in today’s press conference.
As a player, Billie Jean King helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup (then known as the ‘Federation Cup’) in 1963. She went on to win the event a total of seven times as a player (including once as a playing captain) and three times as a captain.
It is thus fitting that, beginning with next year’s Billie Jean Cup Finals, the women’s prize money will be equal that of the Davis Cup (the equivalent men’s competition). This increase in prize money was announced by the ITF last year.
As part of today’s announcement, a variety of top players, including Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep, appeared via video to praise King’s legacy and share their thoughts on the name change.
Dear @BillieJeanKing, Thank you.
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) September 17, 2020
Serena Williams also expressed her congratulations to King via Twitter:
Congrats my dear friend ❤️❤️ https://t.co/bEFN31UWSM
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 17, 2020
Be sure to follow On Her Turf on Instagram!