The ITF have finally revealed the changes they are bringing about to freshen up the Fed Cup women’s international team event which is to become with a huge boost in prize money, a 12 nation, six day tournament played on clay out in Budapest for the next three years starting April (14-19).
The format respects the existing women's tennis calendar by reducing Fed Cup to two weeks of competition in existing Fed Cup weeks and supporting player health through the extension of the off season by moving the Finals from November to April David Haggerty
This year’s finalists, Australia and France, plus hosts Hungary, will be joined by a wildcard and the winners from eight qualifying matches to be held in February 2020.
A total prize fund of $18 million will be on offer with $12 million going to players and $6 million to the national tennis associations.
The finals will feature four groups of three teams, with the winners progressing to the semi-finals and final. All matches will consist of two singles and one doubles.
The move to reform the Fed Cup comes after a similar overhaul of the men’s Davis Cup that will see 18 teams compete for the title and $20m of prize money in the inaugural finals in Madrid this November.
“The launch of the Fed Cup Finals will create a festival of tennis that elevates this flagship women’s team competition to a new level, yet remains loyal to the historic core of the Fed Cup,” said ITF President David Haggerty.
The previous format, which saw the eight-team World Group decided over three ties separated over the course of the season, was criticised for being too strung out and not protecting player welfare which led many top players to stop representing their countries.
“The format respects the existing women’s tennis calendar by reducing Fed Cup to two weeks of competition in existing Fed Cup weeks and supporting player health through the extension of the off season by moving the Finals from November to April,” Haggerty added.