Women's tennis Fed Cup renamed Billy Jean King Cup
BERLIN - The women's team event, the Fed Cup, is renamed Billy Jean King Cup with immediate effect, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Thursday.
The event was founded as the Federation Cup in 1963, renamed Fed Cup at a later stage and has been held in various formats, the latest a week-long event with the planned 2020 debut in Budapest however postponed by one year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
King, 76, was part of the American team that won the inaugural tournament in 1963 and she lifted the trophy another nine times, seven times as player, once as player and captain and twice as captain. She won 78 career titles, including 12 grand slams.
The ITF named her "a champion on the court and a pioneer off it" in her fight for equality and against discrimination of any kind.
"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," ITF President David Haggerty said.
"Today 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."
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."