The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have announced that Billie Jean King is the recipient of the 2010 Fed Cup Award of Excellence. Presentation of the award will be made on Sunday, Nov. 7 in San Diego, Calif. during the 2010 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Final between USA and Italy. The Fed Cup Award of Excellence was developed by the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the ITF in 2001, and is presented annually to a person who represents the ideals and spirit of the Fed Cup competition and has been an active member of a past or present Fed Cup team.
Presenting the award will be ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti and Mark Stenning, chief executive officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.
"Billie Jean King is one of the sport's all-time greats, both on court and in all her accomplishments away from tennis," said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. "She has been an active and successful contributor to Fed Cup, and her fight for equality in sports and society has had an immensely positive effect on the competition. In recognition of all that she has achieved, we are honored to present Billie Jean King with the Fed Cup Award of Excellence."
Billie Jean King was a member of seven winning United States teams in 1963, 1966, 1967, and 1976 through 1979. Over the years, King earned a remarkable Fed Cup winning record of 52-4 (26-3 in singles and 26-1 in doubles). She won the last 30 straight matches she played. In addition to being a successful competitor, King was a record-setting Fed Cup captain as well, having led the USA team to four titles, tying her with Vicky Berner (USA) and Miguel Margets (ESP) for the most wins by a captain.
In addition to her successful Fed Cup record, King won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles. She is a co-founder of the Women's Tennis Association and World TeamTennis, and is the founder of the Women's Sports Foundation. King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.
An effective advocate for social change and gender equality, in 1973, King successfully defeated Bobby Riggs, a former Wimbledon men's singles champion, in an influential match known as "The Battle of the Sexes."
King's contributions on and off the court have been recognized with many accolades ranging from being the first woman to be named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year (1972) to being named one of the "100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century" by Life magazine. She was the recipient of the 1999 Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
In 2009, President Barack Obama presented King with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor available to a civilian and recognizes those individuals who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."
Past recipients of the Fed Cup Award of Excellence are Mary Joe Fernandez of the United States and Silvia Farina of Italy in 2009; Miguel Margets of Spain in 2008; Lea Pericoli of Italy in 2007; Sabine Appelmans of Belgium in 2006; Françoise "Frankie" Dürr of France in 2005; Olga Morozova of Russia in 2004; Larisa Savchenko of Latvia in 2003; Virginia Wade of Great Britain in 2002; and Spain's Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez in 2001.
The 2010 Fed Cup BNP Paribas World Group Final will be contested in San Diego, Calif. between USA and Italy on Nov. 6-7. The tournament will be streamed live on www.fedcup.tv and radio interviews are available in advance and during the competition on www.fedcup.com.
For more information, visit www.tennisfame.com.
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