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10sBalls 🎾 TennisBalls • Television Schedule For Fed Cup now the Billie Jean Cup From Prague

Elina Svitolina of Ukraine waves a national flag after beating Yuki Naito of Japan in their singles match of the Billie Jean King Cup playoff tie between Ukraine and Japan at the Elite Tennis Club in Chornomorsk, Ukraine, 17 April 2021. EPA-EFE/SERGEY DOLZHENKO


Formerly Known as Fed Cup, Women’s “World Cup of Tennis”

will Introduce Single-Location, One-Week Competition between 12 Nations this YearAll-Time Cup Winner United States will Face Slovakia First, on Tuesday, Nov. 2

Tennis Channel and its streaming service Tennis Channel Plus will be the exclusive U.S. homes of the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals, live from Prague November 1-6. The event, formerly known as Fed Cup, is the women’s “World Cup of tennis” and features the best players in the sport representing their countries on national teams. Coverage begins Monday, Nov. 1, at 5:30 a.m. ET.

All 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals matches will be live and on-demand on Tennis Channel Plus. On television, Tennis Channel plans to show 35 live hours and another 30 encore hours, with coverage bouncing between the event and simultaneous men’s Rolex Paris Masters competition. The tennis action is underway on the network each morning at 5:30 a.m. ET , with the Billie Jean King Cup Finals championship set for 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 6 (for complete schedule and coverage times please visit www.billiejeankingcup.com/finals/schedule.aspx and www.tennischannel.com/schedule).

Hall of Famer Pam Shriver will call Billie Jean King Cup Finals matches for Tennis Channel, with analysis from Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin). Both have extensive experience representing the United States at the event during their playing days. Shriver was on the American squad in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1992, reaching three finals and winning the cup in 1989. Shriver contributed to the title with a doubles win that year. Rubin played for the United States in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2004. She reached the final in 1995, where the U.S. team lost a hard-fought battle with Spain. Rubin played two singles matches in the finals, winning one and losing one.

Founded in 1963 as the Federation Cup before changing its name to Fed Cup in 1995, in recent decades the format has featured national teams playing head-to-head matches at different times throughout the year. The tournament would begin during a weekend in the spring, with winners advancing to the next round in the summer, followed by two finalists at the end of the tennis season. This year 12 countries will gather in four groups of three in Prague, with each nation playing the others in its group. Head-to-head competition is decided by the results of two singles and one doubles match, each worth one point. The four group winners will advance to the semifinals, with the victors playing in the Billie Jean King Cup championship November 6.

The new format was originally set to debut in April 2020, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the global pandemic. In September 2020 the competition announced that it would change its name from Fed Cup to the Billie Jean King Cup.

The United States has won the event a record 18 times – with its most recent championship in 2017 – and has qualified for the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals. The team will face Slovakia first, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, and Spain on Wednesday, Nov. 3. Both matchups are scheduled to take place at or after 12 p.m. ET.

Sloane Stephens, who won the 2017 US Open singles title, is back for her eighth time representing the United States in the competition, and currently has a four-match singles win streak at the event. This will be the 10th time for CoCo Vandeweghe, whose dominant 8-0 singles and doubles performance helped the Americans capture the cup in 2017. Shelby Rogers, with Stephens, was also a part of the 2017 U.S. Fed Cup championship team. Danielle Collins first played for the United States during the most recent competition, in 2019. Rounding out the U.S. roster is Caroline Dolehide, who reached her highest ranking, No. 25 in doubles, this season and is joining the team for the first time.

Former player Kathy Rinaldi has been the United States captain since December 2016. In her initial year she piloted the American women to the 2017 cup title, their first since 2000.

The other 11 countries in the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup Finals are:

Group A: Canada, France, Russian Tennis Federation

Group B: Australia, Belarus, Belgium

Group C (with the United States): Slovakia, Spain

Group D: Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland

As is always the case with the premier team competition in women’s tennis, whichever country is left standing on November 6 will have battled through some of the best to get there. The deep field contains a variety of top-ranked singles and doubles players. In singles this includes: Barbora Krejcikova (No. 4; Czech Republic), Garbine Muguruza (No. 5; Spain), Belinda Bencic No. 9; Switzerland), Angelique Kerber (No. 12; Germany), Paula Badosa (No. 13; Spain), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 16; Russian Tennis Federation) and Elise Mertens (No. 20; Belgium).

Top-25 doubles players in the 2021 Billie Jean King Cup are: Elise Mertens (No. 2; Belgium), Katerina Siniakova (No. 3; Belgium), Barbora Krejcikova (No. 4; Czech Republic), Gabriela Dabrowski (No. 5; Canada) and Veronika Kudermetova (No. 16; Russian Tennis Federation).