Billie Jean King Cup Finals Guide: How does the ‘Tennis World Cup’ work?
Although the 2023 WTA season is coming to a close, there is still plenty more tennis to be played and a new world champion to be crowned at the Billie Jean King Cup (BJK Cup) Finals.
And we, at Tennishead, have got all the information you need ahead of the ‘Tennis World Cup’:
What is the Billie Jean King Cup?
The Billie Jean King Cup was founded as the Federation Cup back in 1963, to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
It changed its name in 1995 to the Fed Cup, and was altered once again in 2020 to honour the legendary former No.1 Billie Jean King.
The Billie Jean King Cup Finals
November 8-13, 2022
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) October 14, 2022
The BJK Cup is labelled as the ‘World Cup of Tennis’ by the aforementioned King, and features an array of different divisions from the World Group to Group IV in some regions.
Nations compete to work their way up the different groups, with the eventual goal to qualify for the BJK Cup Finals that take place at the end of each year.
Some ties are still played in a home-and-away format, however the finals are now held in one pre-arranged location.
Both Russia and Belarus are currently banned from the competition due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
How do the Billie Jean King Cup Finals work?
The BJK Cup Finals nations are comprised of the two previous finalists, nine winners of the qualifying round that took place back in April and then a wildcard awarded by the ITF.
These 12 nations are split into four groups of three, where they will play each other in a round-robin format with the group winner advancing.
Each tie consists of three rubbers, with two singles matches and a potentially deciding rubber.
Group winners are decided by most match wins, but if there is a tie it can go down to most matches won or even most sets won!
The four group winners will advance to the semi-final stages, which are in a complete knockout format and will conclude with the final, where a world champion will be crowned.
When are the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals?
The BJK Cup Finals will commence on Tuesday 7th November with the round-robin stage, that will conclude on Friday 10th November.
This will be followed by the knockout stages, with the semi-finals and blockbuster final taking place on Saturday 11th November and Sunday 12th November.
For more information on the schedule for the BJK Cup Finals, click here.
Where are the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals?
The 2023 BJK Cup Finals were awarded to the Spanish city of Seville back in May, with the tennis taking place at the famous Estadio de la Cartuja.
It is a multi-purpose venue, with the finals being played out on two specially-laid hard courts covered by a series of tents.
Centre Court has a total capacity of 4,000 seats, with the slightly smaller Court One holding only 1,500 seats.
Spanish tennis royalty 👑
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) November 3, 2023
Who is playing at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup?
The groups for the BJK Cup Finals were determined by the top four seeds, with defending champions Switzerland as No.1, 2022 runners-up Australia as No.2, hosts Spain as No.3 and France as No.4.
Switzerland’s situation is currently unclear, as No.1 player Belinda Bencic has just announced her pregnancy, but has travelled to Seville and still remains on the team list.
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) November 3, 2023
The standout team for many are 11-time champions Czech Republic, however they face a difficult predicament with three of their five players having to travel from the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico.
Both of these nations will play in a ‘group of death’ alongside the most successful team in BJK Cup history, the United States of America.
The wildcard was awarded to Poland, however this appears to have backfired after Iga Swiatek decided that it was not feasible for her to travel over 10 hours in such a small space of time.
Here is the full list of teams:
|Captain: Heinz Günthardt|
|Captain: Petr Pála|
|Captain: Kathy Rinaldi|
|Captain: Alicia Molik|
|Captain: Yaroslava Shvedova|
|Ela Nala Milić||1043||–|
|Captain: Andrej Krasevec|
|Sara Sorribes Tormo||55||36|
|Marina Bassols Ribera||110||448|
|Captain: Anabel Medina Garrigues|
|Captain: Heidi El Tabakh|
|Captain: Dawid Celt|
|Captain: Julien Benneteau|
|Captain: Tathiana Garbin|
|Captain: Rainer Schüttler|
What is the prize money on offer at the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup?
*Split between players in team
Previous winners of the Billie Jean King Cup
The USA won the first ever BJK Cup back in 1963 at Queen’s Club in London, and have gone onto become world champions a record 18 times.
Last year saw a new winner crowned, as Switzerland beat Australia in Glasgow to avenge their 2021 final defeat.
Here are all of the last 10 winners:
|2012||Prague, Czech Republic||Czech Republic (7)|
|2013||Cagliari, Italy||Italy (4)|
|2014||Prague, Czech Republic||Czech Republic (8)|
|2015||Prague, Czech Republic||Czech Republic (9)|
|2016||Strasbourg, France||Czech Republic (10)|
|2017||Minsk, Belarus||USA (18)|
|2018||Prague, Czech Republic||Czech Republic (11)|
|2019||Perth, Australia||France (3)|
|2020-2021||Prague, Czech Republic||Russian Tennis Federation (5)|
|2022||Glasgow, Scotland||Switzerland (1)|
60 years breaking new ground.
ONE week to go until the 60th #BJKCup champion is crowned ⏳
— Billie Jean King Cup (@BJKCup) October 31, 2023
How can you watch the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals?
With Great Britain not qualifying for the finals, the event is not being broadcasted on terrestrial TV in the United Kingdom. You can watch the Billie Jean King Cup Finals exclusively on Tennis Channel International.
However, if you don’t want to do that you can watch Great Britain’s qualifier tie against Sweden, that takes place between 11th-12th September, on either BBC iplayer or the BBC Sport website.
For more information on how to watch the BJK Cup in your location, click here.
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine