ITF Chief Eyes Turning Billie Jean King Cup Finals Into Multi-City Event - UBITENNIS
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Fed Cup

ITF Chief Eyes Turning Billie Jean King Cup Finals Into Multi-City Event

David Haggerty is hoping the inaugural competition will spark an interest from potential host countries in the future.



The first edition of the Billie Jean Cup Finals is set to get underway in Prague but organisers are already thinking about what could be in store for the future.

Known previously as the Federation Cup, the women’s finale has been transformed into a weeklong event featuring a total of 12 countries. Moving away from its tradition of a two-team final with home and away ties. The revamp occurs just a couple years after a similar change was made to the Davis Cup, which was approved after receiving enough support from a vote that took place at an ITF AGM meeting.

However, preparations for the inaugural Billie Jean King Cup Finals have been far from smooth. The event was initially due to be staged in April 2020 but was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Then this year the Hungarian Tennis Association announced they no longer wish to host the event. Paving way for Prague to step in as a late replacement.

David Haggerty is the president of the International Tennis Federation who has overseen the recent changes made to the two historic team events. Speaking to City AM, the American official indicated that the decision to move the finals from April to November will be a permanent plan for the future.

“I think most of the stakeholders believe that the end of the season makes sense,” said Haggerty.
“We’ve had conversations with the WTA about this as well and that’s where we’ve slotted in and that’s where we’ll be looking for for 2022 and beyond, in November for sure.”

It has been a case that the women’s event has been based on their male equivalent. This year’s Davis Cup finals will be taking place in three different cities for the first time. Turin, Innsbruck and Madrid will be staging matches with Madrid being the location for all semi-final and final ties. Haggerty says the ITF intends to continue the multi-city approach because it ‘ticked all the boxes’ and hopes it can be applied to the women’s competition.

It’s something that could happen, that preliminarily we are looking at,” he commented.

Taking place a week before the WTA Finals in Mexico, the Billie Jean King Cup will be missing top names such as Garbine Muguruza and Paula Badosa who both recently pulled out of the event. Barbora Krejčíková and Belinda Bencic are the only top 10 players taking part.

Nevertheless, Haggerty is counting on the event being a success in hope that it will help him secure host countries in the future. It is currently unknown as to where the 2022 edition will be held.

“One of the things we felt was important was to showcase what it could be, because this will be the inaugural year that we move to this format,” he says.
“We want to be able to show that to all the nations and then have discussions about where the next editions will be.”

Some don’t like change

As the ITF hails a new milestone in the competition, some of those taking part have their reservations. French Open champion Krejčíková has openly said she preferred the old format. Her country, the Czech Republic, has won the women’s team title 11 times which is the second highest in history after America who has won it 18 times.

I definitely preferred the old system with only two teams facing each other,” Krejcikova told reporters on Saturday.

French coach Julien Benneteau has echoed similar comments during a recent interview with Ouest-France. The former world No.25 will be hoping to guide his county to winning the title for a second time in a row. His team includes Alize Cornet, Caroline Garcia, Clara Burel and Fiona Ferro.

“We preferred the format before, now there is no point in elaborating,” Benneteau said.
“The situation is what it is.
“We have to adapt.
“I think there are things to adapt in the preparation to be ready in this new configuration.”

The Billie Jean King Cup finals have been split into four groups of three teams. After four days of round-robin matches, the winner of each group will then progress to the semi-finals.

List of Billie Jean King Cup Groups

  • A = France, Russia and Canada
  • B = Australia, Belarus and Belgium
  • C = United States, Spain and Slovakia
  • D = Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland

Fed Cup

Injury Heartbreak Motivates Australia In Billie Jean King Cup Tie With Mexico



SEVILLE, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Storm Hunter of Team Australia reacts during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals group stage match between Australia and Kazakhstan at Estadio de La Cartuja on November 09, 2023 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images for ITF)

The captain of the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team says they are supporting one of their top players after she suffered a serious injury on the eve of their latest tie. 

Storm Hunter, who is currently ranked No.3 in the world for doubles, has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon whilst training at a practice session on Thursday with her teammates. The severity of the injury means she will almost certainly be forced to pull out of this summer’s Olympic Games where she would have been a medal contender, as well as both the French Open and Wimbledon. Hunter has already won a WTA 1000 title this season in Dubai and was also runner-up in Indian Wells. In both of those tournaments, she was partnering Kateřina Siniaková. 

“Unfortunately yesterday in our last practice before the tie, I went down and scans last night confirmed that I have ruptured my Achilles tendon,” said Hunter.
“I am devastated and heartbroken, but incredibly grateful to be around the team and I know I have a great group of people around me that will help me get back on the court as soon as possible.
“Thank you everyone so much everyone for your messages of support and love. I’m excited to stay for the tie and support our Aussie girls.”

According to the Australian press, team captain Sam Stosur said Hunter’s teammates are ‘rallying behind‘ her and “wishing her the very, very best and the quickest recovery possible.”

As a result of the injury, Daria Saville was brought in to play in her country’s singles match on the opening day of their tie against Mexico on Friday. The world No.94 was in top form as she charged to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-0, win over Marcela Zacarias in less than an hour. 

“Yesterday was a pretty tough day for all of us, pretty emotional,” said Saville who has undergone surgery on her Achilles in the past. 
“It’s so nice to have Stormy here supporting us. Not long ago that kind of happened to me … so we’re giving Stormy a lot of love. 
“I felt like I was pretty determined and clearly that showed.”

Despite the blow, Australia is on the verge of beating Mexico. In the other singles match on the opening day, Arina Rodionova came back from a set down to beat Giuliana Olmos 3-6, 6-3, 6-1. With a 2-0 lead, they only need one more win to clinch the tie. 

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Fed Cup

Italian Captain Tathiana Garbin Reveals Rare Tumor Diagnoses After Team’s Loss At BJK Finals



Former top 30 player and captain of the Italian Billie Jean King Cup team Tathiana Garbin has publically announced that she is battling a serious health issue. 

Just hours after her team lost to Canada in the Billie Jean King Cup final in Seville on Sunday, the 46-year-old issued a statement confirming that she is undergoing treatment for a rare tumor that has been found in her stomach. Garbin had her first surgery in October but will have to undergo further procedures in the coming weeks. 

“I really wish to thank my Federation, which has constantly supported me with extraordinary solidarity and sensitivity,” Gabin said in a statement sent to the news agency Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 
“Seville was a very important event for me, and I absolutely didn’t want to miss it despite being very close to my operation: the Federation has shown they placed full trust in me. There is nothing that makes me prouder than representing the colors of Italy. “

Gabin says she hopes to raise awareness of medical research and prevention by going public about her condition, as well as hoping to inspire others with her story. She is being treated by Professor Di Candio and Professor Morelli at the Cisanello Hospital in Pisa. 

“I thank my BJ King Cup girls, who have shown me incredible love and support. Their presence and support have been a beacon of positivity in these difficult days,” she said in tribute to her team.
“However, I would like to inform you that I will have to undergo a second surgery, required by the treatment planned by the doctors. Thanks to the rapid recovery I have experienced, I am optimistic about being back on court.”

As a player, Garbin peaked at a ranking high of No.22 in singles and No.25 in doubles. Her sole singles title on the WTA Tour occurred in 2000 when she won the Budapest Open in Hungary. Seven years after that, she reached the fourth round of the French Open in what was her best-ever run at a major event. 

Garbin has served as Italy’s Billie Jean King Cup captain since 2016. 

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Fed Cup

Doubles Delight: Great Britain Ousts France 2-1 In Davis Cup Classic



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Great Britain has won the last spot in the Davis Cup finals by prevailing in a highly dramatic clash against France in front of a record crowd in Manchester.

With the must-win showdown level at 1-1, the tie was decided by a rollercoaster doubles match with Dan Evans and Neil Skupski battling their way past Nicolas Mahut and Édouard Roger-Vasselin 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(6). In what was one of the most tense matches ever involving the British team, four match points were saved by the hosts. Evans fended off three whilst serving 4-5 down in the decider before Skupski saved one when he was serving two games later. To add to the drama, in the decisive tiebreaker Britain lost a mini-break advantage twice before prevailing on their second match point. 

“I don’t know how we’ve won that fight, sheer fight. Incredible effort from Dan to come out and win this match with me,” said Skupski.
“The first set wasn’t too good. We regrouped, took a toilet [break] and fought as hard as we could. Dan saving three points in the third set. The rest is history and we’re off to Malaga.” 

The triumph caps off what has been a marathon day at The AO Arena with all three matches going the full distance. A total of more than 13,000 seats was sold for the tie which is a record for a single day of Davis Cup action in the UK. 

Earlier in the day, Evans got Britain off to a perfect start by fighting back from a set and a break down to beat Arthur Fils 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, in what was a close fight. At the end of the encounter, there was a tense exchange between the two which continued during the doubles match with Evans seen making gestures towards the Frenchman who was watching from the stands. 

France’s sole victor was Ugo Humbert who beat former Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie 7-6(5),3-6, 7-5. A new confidence blow to the British No.1 who has only won back-to-back matches in one out of his past five tournaments. 

“The team is amazing. We get on very well. Everyone’s played a part. It’s all those guys and girls standing there (in the stands) who are amazing.” Captain Leon Smith commented. 

Britain joins Australia in qualifying from Group B to November’s finals which will be held in Malaga. The team has won all three of their ties played in Manchester with their previous wins being over Australia and Switzerland earlier in the week. 

In total, eight teams have secured their place in the finals. Group stages have also been held in Spain, Croatia and Italy with the top two nations from each of those events progressing. 

Britain is seeking to win the Davis Cup title for only the second time in the Open Era after 2015. 

List of teams through to the knockout stages in Malaga

  • Great Britain
  • Australia
  • Finland
  • Italy
  • Canada
  • Serbia
  • Czech Republic
  • Netherlands

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