History of The Federation Cup
The idea of an international team tennis competition for women was first proposed by Hazel Wightman in 1919. She thought there should be a woman’s equivalent to the Davis Cup, but her idea was rejected. Instead, Wightman presented a trophy in 1923 for an annual women’s tennis contest between the USA and Great Britain. Nell Hopman, wife of the Australian Davis Cup captain Harry Hopman, later advocated for Wightman’s idea. In 1963, the International Tennis Federation, the world governing body of tennis, celebrated its 50th anniversary by establishing the Federation Cup for international women’s competition.
At first, the Federation Cup tournament took place one week every year in a different venue. Despite the lack of prize money, the competition drew teams from 16 countries and was supported by the top players. The first Federation Cup was held at the Queen’s Club in London, and was won by American tennis player Billie Jean King. Other tennis greats such as Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Conchita Martinez, and Martina Hingis have competed in the tournament. Today, with 102 nations entered in 2016, the tournament is now one of the world’s largest annual international team competitions in women’s sport.
Over the years since its first event, the Federation Cup gained sponsorship from Colgate Group, NEC and BNP Paribas. The tournament’s name was shortened to Fed Cup, and it expanded from a one week event to a three weekend event in 1994. It launched FedCup.com in 2003 to provide live scoring, match reports, and showcase photos, and it continues to add more to the site such as live streaming and multiple language options to better service its fans.
In this year’s tournament, America went against Australia in Brisbane during the April play-offs and won a spot in the eight-nation World Group 4-0. CocoVandeweghe, Christina McHale and Bethanie Mattek-Sands played for the US at the play-offs under captain Mary Joe Fernandez. Coco Vandeweghe won against Sam Stosur, former US Open Champion and French Open Finalist, 2-6, 7-5, 6-4. Christina McHale also won against Stosur 3-6, 6-1, 7-5. Vandeweghe and Bethanie Mattek-Sands played doubles against Daria Gavrilova and Arina Rodionova and won 6-1, 6-4. We’ve just finished the play-offs for this year, but can look forward to the matches coming up in November.
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