Billie Jean King Cup postponed again due to Covid-19
The finals of the Billie Jean King Cup, the women’s national teams tennis competition formerly known as The Fed Cup, has been postponed again due to coronavirus protocols in host country Hungary.
The inaugural 12-nation finals, initially scheduled to be held in March last year at the Laszlo Papp Arena in Budapest, were rescheduled to 13 to 18 April this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the International Tennis Federation, the sport's governing body, and the Hungarian National Sports Agency announced the tournament will now be postponed again to later this year due to on-going pandemic-related restrictions in the country.
The revamped competition involves over 60 athletes, their support teams, official and event staff.
In a statement, organisers said: “Several scenarios have been under review, which include playing behind closed doors.
“However, continued uncertainty and challenges due to the Covid-19 virus, locally and internationally, have made it unfeasible to host a world cup team competition of this scale indoors in Budapest on the scheduled dates.”
Last year, the tournament was renamed in honour of Billie Jean King, who founded the Women’s Tennis Association and helped USA win the inaugural Fed Cup in 1963.
The inaugural competition had secured three major corporations for sponsorship, with multinational bank BNP once again becoming title sponsor for the finals.
BNP has put its name to the Fed Cup since 2005 and was contracted until 2021 but has now extended that agreement with the ITF.
In addition, US software giant Microsoft signed up as the global technology and innovation partner of the Cup, while global steel distribution Magellan Corp become a global partner.
The ITF unveiled the revamped Fed Cup in June 2019, with a three-year hosting contract for Budapest and the Hungarian government taking on full financial responsibility for the event.
The prize money of £12 million ($15.5 million) is equal to that offered in the men’s equivalent competition, the Davis Cup.
Play-off ties for the competition’s 2022 qualifiers are still set to go ahead on a home and away basis on 16 to 17 April.
The men’s Davis Cup Finals in Madrid, Spain, originally scheduled for 23 to 29 November 2020, is due to take place the week commencing 22 November 2021.