The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has today (Friday) announced that Prague’s O2 Arena will be the new host of this year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

The event will be hosted in partnership with the Czech Tennis Association and played on indoor hard courts from November 1-6. The Finals were originally scheduled to take place in Budapest, Hungary in April 2020 and had been twice postponed.

In May, the ITF commenced a search for a new host after terminating its agreement with Budapest. The event formerly known as the Fed Cup had initially been due to take place in April 2020 on indoor clay courts at the Hungarian capital’s Laszlo Papp Arena. The tournament was then rescheduled for April 13-18 this year before it was pushed back again until later in 2021.

The latest delay, announced in February, came amid continued uncertainty and the challenges caused by the pandemic, with the ITF stating it was “unfeasible” to stage a competition of its scale on the scheduled April dates.

Budapest was awarded hosting rights to the tournament in 2019, when the event was restructured into a 12-nation competition. The tournament was renamed last year in honour of women’s tennis icon Billie Jean King, who helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup in 1963.

November will now see both the women’s and men’s World Cup of Tennis events take place in the same month. The rescheduled Billie Jean King Cup Finals will take place ahead of the men’s 2021 Davis Cup Finals, which are being held in Innsbruck, Madrid and Turin from November 25 to December 5.

The Czech Republic has hosted previous editions of the Fed Cup at the O2 Arena in the last decade, with the national team winning the 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2018 Finals on home soil.

Ivo Kaderka, president of the Czech Tennis Association, said: “I am very happy that the Czech Tennis Association could provide a solution when ITF president David Haggerty reached out seeking a new host for this year.

“Together with the ITF, I know that the CTA and our partners will deliver a spectacular event. I would like to express my gratitude to the government of the Czech Republic for supporting sport in general, including tennis and the BJK Cup Finals in Prague.”

Haggerty added: “The O2 Arena has witnessed outstanding Billie Jean King Cup action in the last 10 years, and I look forward to history being made again on court later this year. 

“I thank the Czech Tennis Association and the Czech Republic government for their collaboration and continued commitment to women’s tennis at the highest level, as well as the ITF Board and the Billie Jean King Cup Committee for their unwavering support.”

Image: O2 Arena