ITF Press Release, June 5, 2019
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) today announced Billie Jean King, former World Number One, 4-time Fed Cup winner and 4-time US Fed Cup Captain, pioneer for inclusion and equality and founder of the WTA, as the first-ever global Ambassador for the world’s largest annual women’s team sports competition and figurehead of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas brand.Committed to driving inclusion and equality in tennis, the ITF has integrated its flagship women’s team competition with the federation’s gender equality initiative, Advantage All. Through its Advantage All programme, the ITF aims to build Fed Cup as a platform to drive awareness about gender equality in tennis and empower future women leaders.
Billie Jean King, Fed Cup Ambassador, said: “It’s simple. I love Fed Cup. My memories of playing Fed Cup and the friendships I forged at that time, remain many of my strongest and most cherished. This is a unique competition and a powerful global brand built upon the value of team performance and spirit. I am proud to be a driver of this movement and work together with the ITF to champion equality in tennis.”
Katrina Adams, Fed Cup Committee Chair, ITF Gender Equality in Tennis Committee Chair, ITF vice president was delighted to add, “Billie Jean King’s name is synonymous with women’s tennis, equality and inclusion. Through Billie’s work in tennis and other sports, we can build a bridge with all women’s sports. Work is underway at the ITF and with its major stakeholders to build a bigger, better and bolder Fed Cup competition and we have ambitions for the brand. We believe that with Billie alongside us, this is a sign of great things to come.”
ITF President David Haggerty said: “We are thrilled that Billie Jean King has chosen to join the ITF on this journey. Billie’s involvement not only elevates Fed Cup as a driver of equality but in our commitment to fulfil the pledge we made to our National Associations during the 2018 AGM that we will unlock the full potential of the ITF women’s competition in a way that will provide greater investment into the future of the sport.”
The ITF Gender Equality in Tennis Committee launched its Advantage All programme at the 2018 ITF AGM. The long-term strategy is framed around five themes: balanced participation opportunities; leadership; culture; value; voice. Already since 2018, the ITF has funded several initiatives promoting women in leadership, coaching and officiating.
A key initial focus in 2019 is creating awareness about the rewarding and exciting courtside and off-court careers in tennis for women and the pathway to get there. The ITF initiative covers a wide range of professions within the scope of its global organisation, administration and operations, including coaching, officiating and leadership.
The Committee will also be developing a programme for leadership training and mentoring. The ITF will take a leadership role, encouraging National Tennis Associations to join the movement and, via provision of tools, materials and guidance, help them form their own national Gender Equality in Tennis Committees and implement initiatives in their local areas.
Ultimately, Advantage All will develop long-term programmes and actions that promote equality, inclusion and diversity in tennis, and sport generally.