The Fed Cup tennis tournament has been renamed the Billie Jean King Cup in a historic move.
SBS Sport

18 Sep 2020 - 3:14 PM  UPDATED 18 Sep 2020 - 3:14 PM

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The international team competition, essentially the women's world cup of tennis, has been rebranded in honour of legend Billie Jean King.

It makes history as the first major global team competition to be named after a woman, a landmark moment for the sport.

The Billie Jean King Cup is the world's largest women's international team tournament, with 116 countries taking part and the finals being competed by the 12 best nations over one week.

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Accordingly, going forward it will also have the biggest prize fund - $12 million - in women's team sport, equal to the men's Davis Cup finals.

King won 12 Grand Slam singles titles, including six Wimbledon wins, to become a great of the sport.

She became legendary off it as well, pioneering equality and fighting all forms of discrimination.

King won the Fed Cup a record 10 times, four as captain of the United States.

“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," said ITF President David Haggerty.

"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 herself 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.”