King wants combined men’s & women’s Tennis World Cup

Billie Jean King says she would happily see the women’s cup competition bearing her name combined with the men’s Davis Cup into one World Cup of tennis.

Both team events conclude next month, with the Billie Jean King Cup finals in Seville from 7 to 12 November and the Davis Cup from 21 to 26 November.

“I think it’s really important to have a World Cup for tennis,” King said.

“The whole world understands a World Cup. They know it’s country versus country.”

The winner of 39 Grand Slam titles added: “I want us together, I always want the men and women together. I think we can enhance it and make more of a focus on us. I think people like it when we are all happy together.”

King accepts there are “a thousand questions” which would need resolving before the two tournaments can become one. Tournament director Conchita Martinez said she would also be in favour, so long as women get equal time on the show courts and the same access to the practice courts.

Both the Billie Jean King Cup and the Davis Cup are already marketed as ‘the World Cup of tennis,’ with eight teams competing in the knockout stage of the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga in late November.

However, none of the world’s top four players will be competing in Seville. Aryna Sabalenka will be absent because Belarus have been banned from team competition since the invasion of Ukraine, and Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula will be missing because of an unforgiving schedule.

The WTA Finals take place in the Mexican resort of Cancun the week before the Billie Jean King Cup Finals are staged seven time zones away in Spain.

The WTA only chose the venue in September, months after Seville was selected to host the finals of the team competition.

“We’ve had our date for a long time – I think you should ask the WTA,” King replied when asked how she felt about the fact that some of the stars will be missing.

“They’re the one that put their date in a few weeks before they played. I think we all need to get together and figure out a better calendar for the players because you can’t start making these decisions on the Finals in September.”

Those who do compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals will be in the 11th month of their season.

The year is a gruelling one, and the art of picking a smart schedule much underestimated.

But only two weeks are set aside for the Billie Jean King Cup, and Martinez – the 1994 Wimbledon champion – wants players to appreciate the benefits of team competition.

“This competition brings other values,” she said.
“You play as a team helping each other, you create .

“You play as a team helping each other, you create this bond and you don’t have that on tour. To be able to experience that, and leave the ego on the side, I think that’s the most amazing feeling that you can have, so I think we need to also tell these kids that it’s great to play for your country.”