Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, considered to be the ‘World Cup’ of tennis. A total of 107 nations are participating in 2017! It is a country vs. country event that takes place over three weekends each calendar year, and is a long-standing event with 54 rich years of history.
Because Fed Cup is contested between countries rather than individuals, it gives players the unique chance to compete in a team environment with their compatriots. It also means lively, cheering crowds are highly encouraged! Unlike regular tennis tournaments, Fed Cup is known for its partisan and exciting atmosphere as fans cheer loudly and proudly for their own country.
A tie takes place over a weekend and is a best-of-five match event – the first nation to win three matches is victorious! Two singles matches (also called ‘rubbers’) take place on the Saturday, and then two reverse singles matches and a doubles match are played on Sunday. The tie is hosted by one of the competing nations.
The host nation is decided depending on where the two competing teams played their most recent tie against each other. If a nation had home advantage last time then it will be away next time, and vice-versa. If the nations have never previously never met, or if they faced each other in a neutral venue, then a draw determines the host nation.
The top eight countries in the world comprise the World Group I; these are the teams that compete for the Fed Cup trophy every year. In World Group I, the four highest-ranked nations are drawn to face the other four countries in the first round. The winners move on to the semifinals, then the final in a knock-out format. The first round losers go on to play the top four nations from World Group II in the World Group I play-offs.
The bottom four nations from World Group I compete with the top four nations from World Group II, with winners promoted to the World Group I for the next year and losers relegated to World Group II.
Countries ranked between 9 and 16 in the world comprise the World Group II. The four highest-ranked nations are drawn to face the other four countries in the first round. The winners move on to play in the World Group I play-offs and the losers go on to play the World Group II play-offs.
The bottom four nations from Word Group II compete with the four winning nations from the Zone Group I events, with the winners promoted to the World Group II for the next year and the losers relegated to the Zone Group I.
Outside the World Group, countries are split into three regions: Americas, Asia/Oceania, and Europe/Africa. Within each of these regions are two divisions, with Group I being the highest and Group II being the lowest, except for the Europe/Africa Zone, which also has a Group III.
Each Group is initially split into round-robin pools, with play-offs then deciding promotion and relegation. The goal for teams in each level is to be promoted to the next-highest division for the following year.
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) April 3, 2017
2017 World Group II play-offs vs. Kazakhstan
April 22-23, 2017
Uniprix Stadium in Montreal