It is final, women’s tennis with a world-class label is returning to Prague. From November 1 to 6, the Czech capital will welcome the final tournament for the Billie Jean King Cup, as the former Fed Cup is called today. It will be played on a hard surface on two courts of the O2 arena, tickets will go on sale at the end of September. The profit of the organizing, which was originally held by Hungary, was decided primarily by state support in the amount of 65 million crowns.
For the fifth time in the last nine years, we will see Prague’s O2 arena in the finals of the most prestigious women’s tennis team competition. Now no longer under the Fed Cup banner, but Billie Jean King Cup. And it will not be a clash of two selections, but twelve elite world teams will arrive in Prague. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) is promoting the competition as a world championship and intends to embellish the premiere year of the BJK Cup with the biggest names. Excluded may not be the start of Serena Williams or world number one from Australia Ashleigh Barty.
This is a major turning point in the fate of the traditional competition, which was originally to be hosted by Hungary in 2020, but after waves of delays during the pandemic, the country finally gave up the organization in May this year. And there was a threat that the BJK Cup would not take place for the second year in a row before the Czech Tennis Association and its president Ivo Kaderka entered the game. “No one can imagine that it can be done at all. What other organizers have a year for, we have to manage in eight weeks. There was no other fighter for this event, because he was more about to collapse and it looked like he would not be at all, “described Kaderka, who described as a key fact that the finals supported the government of the Czech Republic.
According to Kaderka, the generous subsidy of 65 million crowns is an investment that is paying off. “Such an event in the Czech Republic can never be lost. The money the government puts in will all be spent here. This is not prize money for players, this is money to cover part of the organizational costs. Taxes levied on this, including VAT, go to the state budget. God willing, there will be no covid apocalypse and only ten thousand people will come here, and twenty thousand of them can come, but I don’t want to fantasize too much, so the event will earn two walls to three hundred million for the Czech Republic. This is a highly qualified estimate. At the moment we have 700 rooms reserved and we will not pay for them, but those who come here, “he calculated.
Either way, there is something to look forward to from a sports point of view. The Czech tennis players have not lost any matches in the O2 arena yet, including four final matches. It will be played not only in the large hall, which is to attract approximately 15,000 spectators for tennis, but also in the smaller O2 universe, which can accommodate approximately 3 to 4,000 fans.
Twelve teams are divided into four three-member groups, of which only the winner will advance to the semifinals. The Czechs have Swiss and German women in the group. Which Germany can use a team of veterans bee with Angelique Kerber, Switzerland is threatened. At its center is the Olympic champion from Tokyo Belinda Bencicova, the fresh finalist from Cincinnati Jil Teichmann or the quarterfinalist of Wimbledon Viktoria Golubicova.
It is played with a system of two singles and doubles at the end. Therefore, the matched pair Barbora Krejčíková – Kateřina Siniaková should not be missing in the Czech nomination. The teams will probably be able to have five members, so four stars aspire to the three remaining places – Karolína Plíšková, Petra Kvitová, Karolína Muchová and Markéta Vondroušová. There should be a lot of interest in the start, because in addition to the experience at home, it will also be very lucrative for the players. The total grant of the event is $ 18 million, 12 million goes to the participating players for rewards, 6 million to the national tennis associations.
Tickets should go on presale at the end of September, starting on November 1st. Czech tennis players are the most successful team in the competition of the last decade, since 2011 they have won six of their eleven trophies. The remaining five titles were won by Czechoslovakia. The last time they celebrated the silver cup was after the final in Prague in 2018.