Billie Jean King calls for better scheduling, combined BJK, Davis Cups

Associated PressSports NewsOct 18, 2023, 10:22 PM2 Minute Read

Billie Jean King advocates for preventing conflicts between tennis tournaments, citing the proximity and distance between the WTA Finals and the Billie Jean King Cup Finals. This issue led top players like Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, and Jessica Pegula to choose the former and skip the latter.

In a conference call promoting the Billie Jean King Cup Finals, scheduled for Nov. 7-12 in Seville, Spain, King mentioned the lack of discussion between the International Tennis Federation, overseers of the BJK Cup, and the WTA, whose championships are set for Oct. 29 to Nov. 5 in Cancun, Mexico.

“We need everyone to collaborate and design a more coordinated calendar to benefit the players and ensure transparency. Last-minute decisions in October or September, like the one concerning the WTA Finals, are simply unfair. The players need to be informed well in advance,” King insisted.

Tournament director Conchita Martinez, who also had a player win the former “Fed Cup,” echoed King’s sentiment: “We must find better solutions through cooperation.”

In June, the WTA announced the dates for its season-ending tour event but did not disclose the location until Sept. 7. Similarly, the announcement for the 2022 WTA Finals in Fort Worth, Texas, was made in September of the previous year. This timing, coupled with the competition’s proximity to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in Glasgow, Scotland, raised concerns raised by Swiatek about player safety and health.

Last year, Swiatek chose to participate in the WTA Finals, forgoing the BJK Cup Finals for Poland, and made the same decision this time. Gauff, the 19-year-old US Open champion, and Pegula will also be competing in Mexico instead of Spain.

As a result, three of the top four women in the WTA rankings, Swiatek (No. 2), Gauff (No. 3), and Pegula (No. 4), will miss the BJK Cup Finals. Nonetheless, Martinez emphasized the outstanding players who will be participating in Seville.

Grand Slam champions like Marketa Vondrousova, Barbora Krejcikova, Sloane Stephens, and Elena Rybakina are expected to compete for their respective countries in Seville.

King expressed her desire to combine the BJK Cup and its male equivalent, the Davis Cup, to further the collaboration between men and women in tennis.


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