The International Tennis Federation has announced the dates and venue for the premier international team event in women’s tennis, the Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas — formerly known as the Fed Cup, and Nigeria will making her debut in this year’s competition.
A team from Nigeria will be joining the competition for the first time this year, to play in the Europe/Africa Group III, from the 15th to the 19th of June 2021. The competition will take place on the Indoor Hard Courts of the SEB Arena in Vilnius, Lithuania, with 27 nations competing for a chance to be one of two teams to be promoted to Europe/Africa Group II.
The 27 nations that will compete in the Group III event are: Algeria, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Botswana, Congo, Cyprus, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Kenya, Kosovo, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Ties are to be contested in a best-of-three rubbers format(two singles and a doubles) and are played on one day. Due to the large number of countries expected to compete in the Europe/Africa Group III, a yet to be decided grouping format will be announced before the event kicks off in Lithuania.
Although this will be the first time players representing Nigeria will play in the female equivalent of the Davis Cup, the NTF President Ifedayo Akindoju has said, “Nigeria will not just be going there to compete, but our Ladies will be going there with the aim of getting promoted.”
A Brief History About the Billie Jean King Cup.
The Billie Jean King Cup – formerly known as Federation Cup (1963-1995) and Fed Cup (1995-2020) – was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). It is now the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 116 nations entered in 2020.
On 17 September 2020, the competition was renamed by sponsor, BNP Paribas, to honour 77-year-old Billie Jean King, an American tennis player whose playing career saw her emerge victorious in the competition 10 times, alongside winning 39 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. The inaugural Billie Jean King Cup by BNP Paribas Finals, involving the twelve teams that have qualified for the Finals, will take place in Budapest, Hungary on 13-18 April 2021.
South Africa is the only African nation to ever win the event, while USA is the most successful team in the history of the competition with 18 titles to their name.