Billie Jean King Cup
The Billie Jean King Cup (BJK Cup) is the world cup of women’s tennis.
Launched as the Federation Cup in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the BJK Cup has expanded from 16 countries in its first year to a record 134 nations competing in 2023.
Today, the BJK Cup offers the largest annual prize money in women’s team sports, equivalent to that offered to men playing Davis Cup, and it is a pathway for players to participate in the Olympic Games.
The first competition featured three-player teams from 16 nations. It was held at the Queen’s Club in London, and the Final featured a matchup between Australia and The United States.
The number of nations entering the competition rose steadily over the years that followed, and the competition’s format changed as a result. In 1995, Federation Cup was renamed Fed Cup.
The competition’s current format was introduced in 2020, with the creation of the Billie Jean King Cup Finals event. Teams earn a spot in the Finals through BJK Cup Qualifiers, with the exception of the previous year’s Finalists, the host nation, and a wildcard nation, all of which have automatic entry. Once Qualifiers are completed, the remaining 12 teams play in the Finals in a single location to determine the champion. 134 nations competed in 2023, with broadcast coverage spanning a record 196 territories.
Honoring Billie Jean King
In 2020, the Fed Cup was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup to honor Billie Jean’s achievements in the competition since its early beginnings.
She is a seven-time BJK Cup champion as a player, including once when she served as both a player and a captain in 1976. She also won three additional titles as the non-playing captain of the US team.
The new name also recognizes the vital role Billie Jean has played in the exponential growth of women’s tennis throughout her entire career.
In 2023, BJK Cup Limited was formed as a partnership between the ITF and TWG Global to deliver transformative investment and innovation, and focus on the marketing and commercialization of the event.
Legends of the Game
Many of the greatest tennis legends, past and present, from across the globe have competed in the BJK Cup.
Players such as Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova, Conchita Martinez, Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, and Venus and Serena Williams have enjoyed significant success in the competition.
The BJK Cup provides players with a unique opportunity to represent their country on the international stage and inspire the next generation of tennis stars.