The Billie Jean King (BJK) Cup is hailed as the World Cup of women’s tennis. An equivalent to the men’s Davis Cup, the BJK Cup is a 60-year-old event.
As of 2016, a total of 99 teams participate in the tournament. In order to accommodate such massive participation, the tournament is player in weekends throughout the year. These are based on a home-away format between pooled teams.
BJK Cup format
The current structure of the BJK Cup is based on a promotion-relegation format. All teams are divided into three zones based on geography – the America Zone, the Euro-Africa Zone and the Asia-Oceania Zone. Each of these zones is further divided into groups. The Asia-Oceania and the Americas Zone are divided into two groups each, Group 1 and Group 2, with Group 1 being the higher rank. The Euro-Africa Zone has an additional Group 3 and Group 4.
Within each groups, based on the number of participants, teams are either divided in pools or follow a round-robin format. Based on their standings, they are either promoted or relegated to the higher group. The top two teams in the Euro-Africa Group 1, and the top team in the Americas Group 1 and Asia-Oceania Group 1 qualify for the World Group II play-offs. These four teams face the four losing teams of the previous year’s World Group II in the World Group II play-offs.
The four winners of the World Group II play-offs advance to the World Group II. The World Group II features losers of the World Group I of the previous year and the winners of the World Group II play-offs. The winners of World Group II advance to the World Group I play-offs. These teams will face teams that were relegated from World Group I. Finally, teams who qualify for the World Group I compete against each other for the BJK Cup title.
Ties of World Group I and World Group II are played as best-of-five matches. These include two singles, two reverse singles and a doubles match. The ties of zonal groups are contested as best-of-three matches. Two of these matches are singles and one is a doubles match.
USA has won a record 18 BJK Cup titles in the history of the event, followed by Czech Republic (11) and Australia (7).