The 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals are underway in Seville, Spain. Serving as the Women’s World Cup of professional tennis and the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, the tournament features 12 teams competing in four round-robin groups of three.
Former collegians, Peyton Stearns and Danielle Collins, are set to compete alongside their USA teammates in the group stage round on Thursday, November 9th. Having played at least two years of college tennis prior to turning pro, both Stearns and Collins are shining examples of the pathway that is in place between college tennis and the professional tour.
During her two-season stint at Texas, Peyton Stearns became the first player in program history to win the NCAA Division I Women’s Singles National Championship title in 2022. During that same year, Stearns led Texas to their second-straight NCAA Team National Championship, beating Oklahoma in the championship match.
After becoming a full-time professional after the 2022 dual-match season, Stearns had her breakthrough performance at this year’s US Open, reaching the fourth round in her home country’s Grand Slam, defeating Vikoriya Tomva, Clara Tauson, and Katie Boulter. As a result, Stearns reached a career high WTA Singles Ranking of No. 43.
Having represented the United States at last year’s Billie Jean King Cup, Danielle Collins will once again have the opportunity to represent her country on the biggest of stages. Collins, a two-time NCAA Singles Champion and three-time ITA National Champion, has had a very successful professional career, climbing the WTA rankings, reaching as high as No. 7 in the world.
At the Grand Slams, Collins has also had her fair share of success, getting to the finals of the 2022 Australian Open, the quarterfinals of the 2020 French Open, and the semifinals of the 2019 Australian Open. In April, Collins captured her first WTA Tour doubles title at the Charleston Open, adding to the two WTA Tour titles that she has won in singles during her career.
Play from the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Finals will continue through Sunday, November 12th. Group play is set to conclude on Friday, November 10th. Four group winners will qualify for the semifinals on Saturday, November 11th before the championship on Sunday, November 12th.
More Information on the Competing Collegiate Alum:
Peyton Stearns, Texas: As a three-time ITA All-American (Singles in 2021 and 2022, Doubles in 2022), Stearns led the Longhorns to their second-straight NCAA team championship and became the first player in program history to claim the NCAA Singles title. While doing so, Stearns earned a long list of accolades including being named the 2022 ITA National Player of the Year, 2022 Big 12 Player of the Year, the Big 12 Championship Most Outstanding Player, and the Big 12 Individual Champion at No. 1 Singles. Stearns was also among four finalists for the Class of 2022 Honda Sport Award for Tennis. During her two seasons at Texas, Stearns compiled a 51-10 overall record in singles and a 42-17 record in doubles.
Danielle Collins, Florida/Virginia: A two-time NCAA Singles Champion, Collins had one of the most decorated collegiate careers by a student-athlete over her three years at Virginia and one year at Florida. Collins was a three-time ITA Singles All-American and posted 125 career singles wins during her time at Florida and Virginia. In her senior year, Collins was named the ITA Senior Player of the Year and finished her career ranked as the No. 1 Singles player in the country.
About the Billie Jean King Cup – The Billie Jean King Cup, formerly known as Federation Cup (1963-1995) and Fed Cup (1995-2020), was launched in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The idea for the competition can be traced back to 1919, when Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman came up with the concept for a women’s team event. It is now the world’s largest annual international team competition in women’s sport.
The current format of the tournament was introduced in 2020 and saw the creation of a Billie Jean King Cup Finals event, consisting of 12 teams playing in one location over six days for the right to be crowned champion. Teams qualify for the Finals via the Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers (which are played on a home-and-away basis), with the exception of the previous year’s finalists, the hosts, and a wild card nation, who each gain automatic entry.
The remaining nations are divided into Groups (I-III) of three regions: Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe/Africa. Promotion and relegation are played for each year, while nations in the Billie Jean King Cup Finals compete to be crowned champion.
The rebranding of the competition in 2020 to the Billie Jean King Cup not only recognises Billie Jean King’s achievements in winning the tournament a combined 10 times, as either a player or a captain, it also ensures she continues to be a visible role model for generations to come in fighting injustice, inequality and discrimination.
About the ITA – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body and coaches association of college tennis, both an advocate and an authority for the sport and its members. Comprised of 1,260 colleges and universities, 20,000 student-athletes, 1,700 varsity programs, 3,000 coaches, and 1,350 college tennis officials, the ITA empowers college tennis coaches at all levels to deliver vibrant tennis programs that are vital to their college communities and transformational to their student-athletes. Follow the 2023-24 college tennis season on the ITA website and ITA social channels on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.