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Schedule, teams, name, venue: 10 questions about the Billie Jean King Cup
Previously known as the Fed Cup, this women’s team competition was renamed the Billie Jean King Cup last year and will take place in Prague this week
When does the Billie Jean King Cup take place in 2021?
The Billie Jean King Cup Finals had been scheduled for April 13-18, 2021, but it was announced in February that the event will be postponed until later in the year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The finals will take place between November 1 and 6, 2021.
Play-off ties, in which teams are trying to play their way into future Finals, proceeded as scheduled in April.
When was it named the Billie Jean King Cup?
Previously known as the Fed Cup, the women’s team tennis competition was renamed the Billie Jean King Cup in September 2020 after the tennis legend, who played an instrumental role in launching the women’s professional circuit.
This year will be the first that it is played under the Billie Jean King Cup name, as the event was cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus.
Where is it being held?
The Billie Jean King Cup Finals are being held in Prague, Czech Republic.
Play-off ties are being held on a home-and-away basis. Host nations can choose the venue and the surface.
Who is the defending champion?
There was no tournament in 2020, so France are the defending champions after winning the trophy in 2019. They defeated Australia 3-2 at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
What did the ITF say about the 2021 postponement?
ITF President David Haggerty had this to say about the postponement earlier in 2021:
“Everyone involved in this competition hoped that we would not be in this position, but unfortunately the Covid-19 situation remains serious and restricting. Health and safety comes first. Together with the NSA, and in consultation with the WTA, we are in the process of finalising new dates. We continue to work our hardest to deliver a spectacular Finals event in 2021 and, like the players and fans, as well as Billie Jean herself, we are all looking forward to a memorable Billie Jean King Cup Finals later in the year.”
Who has won the most titles?
The United States are the all-time leaders in Cup titles with 18, first triumphing in 1963 and most recently being crowned champions in 2017.
Czech Republic is currently ranked second with 11 titles, followed by Australia (seven), Spain (five), Russia (four), and Italy (four). Other countries that have won it multiple times are France (three) and Germany (two).
When did the event begin?
This team competition dates back to 1963. It had been held every year since then before being cancelled in 2020.
Who is in the Finals in 2021?
The 12 teams that qualified for this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals are-
- France – 2019 champions
- Australia – 2019 runners-up
- Czech Republic – awarded wild card
Eight teams advanced to the Finals after winning their BJK Cup qualifiers which were held in February 2020 – United States, Belarus, Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium and Slovakia.
Canada are the 12th nation after replacing previous hosts Hungary as they were the highest-ranked winning nation from the BJK Cup play-offs held in April 2021.
What is the format of the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup?
The 12 nations are divided into three groups of four teams each. Each nation plays each other in a group, with the four group winners advancing to the knock-out semi-final stage.
Group A: France (1), Russia, Canada
Group B: Australia (2), Belarus, Belgium
Group C: United States (3), Spain, Slovakia
Group D: Czech Republic (4), Germany, Switzerland
Semi-Finals – Group A winner vs Group C winner; Group B winner vs Group D winner
Which players are contesting the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in 2021?
Here are the team roasters along with their captains –
- France: Captain – Julien Benneteau; Players – Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Clara Burel, Fiona Ferro
- Canada: Captain – Sylvain Bruneau; Players – Rebecca Marino, Francoise Abanda, Gabriela Dabrowski, Carol Zhao
- RTF: Captain – Igor Andreev; Players – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova, Ekaterina Alexandrova, Liudmila Samsonva
- Australia: Captain – Alicia Molik; Players – Ajla Tomljanovic, Storm Sanders, Ellen Perez, Olivia Gadecki, Priscilla Hon, Daria Gavrilova
- Belarus: Captain – Tatiana Poutchek; Players – Aliaksandra Sasnovich, Yuliya Hatouka, Lidziya Marozava, Iryna Shymanovich, Vera Lapko
- Belgium: Captain – Johan Van Herck: Players – Elise Mertens, Greet Minnen, Ysaline Bonaventure, Kirsten Flipkens
- USA: Captain – Kathy Rinaldi: Players – Danielle Collins, Shelby Rogers, Sloane Stephens, Coco Vandeweghe, Caroline Dolehide
- Spain: Captain – Anabel Medina Garrigues; Players – Sara Sorribes Tormo, Nuria Parrizas Diaz, Rebeka Masarova, Aliona Bolsova, Carla Suarez Navarro
- Slovakia: Captain – Matej Liptak; Players – Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, Kristina Kucova, Rebecca Sramkova, Viktoria Kuzmova, Tereza Mihalikova
- Czech Republic: Captain – Petr Pala; Players – Barbora Krejcikova, Marketa Vondrousova, Tereza Martincova, Katerina Siniakova, Lucie Hradecka
- Switzerland: Captain – Heinz Guenthardt; Players: Belinda Bencic, Jil Teichmann, Viktorija Golubic, Stefanie Voegele
- Germany: Captain – Rainer Schuettler; Players – Angelique Kerber; Andrea Petkovic, Anna-Lena Friedsam, Jule Niemeier, Nastasja Schunk
Where can you buy tickets for the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup?
Details about how to buy tickets for the event are available on the official tournament website.
How will next year’s field be determined?
The champion and runner-up will automatically qualify for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup Finals. The nations that finish third through 12th will contest the 2022 play-off qualifiers. Those teams will also be eligible to receive a wild card into the 2022 Finals, along with the winners of the 2021 play-offs.