For decades, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) has worked to achieve equity, fairness and justice in athletics. It strives to provide the same opportunities to male and female athletes while breaking down stereotypes and barriers related to gender. To accomplish this goal, the International Tennis Federation has relied on female athletes who have not only proven themselves on the court but are equally dedicated to seeing this shared vision off the court come to fruition. Most notably, Billie Jean King has helped the International Tennis Federation change the trajectory of tennis forever for the benefit of future generations.
The Early Days of the International Tennis Federation – The Fed Cup
The Fed Cup (or Federation Cup as it has been previously called) began in 1963. Since its inception, it has been widely recognized as the leading global competition for women’s tennis teams as it mirrored something that only men’s tennis had, the Davis Cup. At the time of its inauguration, the Fed Cup represented the golden jubilee, or 50th anniversary, of the International Tennis Federation. At its first event, 16 countries participated. And on June 20th, 1963, the United States won the first Fed Cup at the Queen’s Club in London with Darlene Hard, Billie Jean King, Margaret Smith and Lesley Turner. To secure the victory, the U.S. had to overpower Australia. It is important to note that there was no cash prize for placing first during its first years. The teams had to finance all travel and expenses themselves.
The International Tennis Federation comprises over 200 member nations, making it one of the most expansive federations in international sports competitions. It was inspired by a visionary of the game, Duane Williams. In 1913, it was founded under the name International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF). Since then, it has maintained responsibility for carrying out several vital functions. First, these include administrative duties around rules, playing court regulations and game equipment. Second, this relates to structuring, developing and promoting the game in circuits such as the World Tennis Tour Juniors, Seniors Tennis Tour, Beach Tennis Tour, Men’s World Tennis Tour, Women’s World Tennis Tour and the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour. And lastly, the ITF is tasked with organizing competitions such as the Olympic Games, the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Billie Jean King Cup in honor of Billie Jean King herself.
Billie Jean King’s Legacy
Billie Jean King, or Billie Jean Moffitt, was born November 22nd, 1943, in Long Beach, California. Throughout childhood, she was a great baseball and softball player. At age eleven, she made the official switch to tennis. She took the initiative by buying her own gear and taking lessons open to the public. These lessons were taught by the legendary Clyde Walker at Long Beach courts.
Fast-forward to 1959, and Billie Jean King was fresh into the competition circuit. Although, it took her only a short time to become a highly decorated star. In 1972, she earned major bragging rights, becoming one of only a few women to achieve first in all four Grand Slam events. That same year, she was the first female athlete to win Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Sportsperson of the Year award. She would later win close to 40 Grand Slam singles, doubles and hybrid double titles and 20 Wimbledon championships.
Aside from that, she has established the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Sports Foundation and earned a spot on the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” list from Life Magazine. In 2009, she was presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom. And in 2018, she added the Lifetime Achievement Awards at BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards to her outstanding resume. Two years later, in 2020, the Fed Cup was rebranded as the Billie Jean King Cup in appreciation of her trailblazing work.
The Later Days of the International Tennis Federation – The Billie Jean King Cup
The Billie Jean King Cup is a global tennis team tournament run by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). The Billie Jean King Cup has been celebrated as the most prominent yearly international event in competitive team sports for female athletes. Modern-day tennis legends like Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens have all competed in the tournament and come away victorious. In 2022, the Billie Jean King Cup ran from November 8th to November 13th at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Great Britain. Twelve teams played in the finals and Switzerland won with a 2-0 sweep against Australia.
The Billie Jean King Cup Gold and Silver Commemorative Coins
Together, the International Tennis Federation and Rosland Capital created exclusive 999.9 fine gold and 999.0 fine silver coins, with the obverse sides featuring an effigy of the late Queen Elizabeth II createdby artist Ian Rank-Broadley, for the 2022 event in the UK. Both coin types were minted as proofs, the finest standard in numismatics, and are 2022 legal tender. Swiss-based PAMP SA, frequently recognized as one of the best private mints, produced the collectibles. The Swiss-based PAMP SA also produced the International Tennis Federation’s and Rosland Capital’s 2019 ¼ oz Gold Coin for the Fed Cup three years prior. The 2022 coins not only feature Billie Jean King, but also her Cup’s logo. The specialty coins for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup include the 2.5 oz Silver Coin, the ¼ oz Gold Coin and the 1.5 oz Gold Coin.
- 2.5 oz Silver Coin Specifications
- Weight: 2.5 Troy oz.
- Diameter: 50mm
- Depth: 3.7 mm
- Edge: Reeded
- Quantity: 2,500
- ¼ oz Gold Coin Specifications
- Weight: ¼ Troy Oz.
- Diameter: 22 mm
- Depth: 1.06 mm
- Edge: Reeded
- Quantity: 5,000
- 1.5 oz Gold Coin Specifications
- Weight: 1.5 Troy oz.
- Diameter: 40mm
- Depth: 1.93 mm
- Edge: Reeded
- Quantity: 100
Many sports fanatics and those in the tennis industry expressed anticipation around the coin launch, with major sports media outlets such as Tennis Threads Magazine and Daily Sports Guide covering the collaboration. Leadership at the International Tennis Federation expressed this same joy. For example, Kelly Fairweather, International Tennis Federation CEO, said to the public, “We are very pleased to have worked with Billie Jean King Enterprises and Rosland on this collection and the results are fantastic. Billie Jean has brought fresh energy and excitement to this great competition, and it’s fitting we can celebrate her incredible achievements through this collection.”
All three coins from the partnership are available in specialty designer packaging that combines practicality, craftsmanship, attention to detail, aesthetics and authenticity. Billie Jean King’s official signature is featured in delicate white cursive centered above or below the coin. The vivid white Billie Jean King Cup logo in caps reflects off the navy blue and aqua design nicely. On the reverse side of the packaging, the navy background is substituted for bright white. A statement of metal fineness, weight, proof quality and signature of the accredited assayer at PAMP is also included.
Honoring a Legend and Fostering Appreciation for Tennis
Together, the International Tennis Federation and Rosland Capital have created products to honor the Fed Cup, Billie Jean King herself and the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup. The pair has seamlessly combined the rich history of these organizations, competitions and events while fostering a new sense of hope for tennis. Rosland Capital has also taken on a much larger responsibility as it relates to sports. Rosland Capital is deeply committed to participating in charitable causes and working in humanitarian spaces to benefit vulnerable communities. It appreciates the bridges that sports create and the vast platform they present. In recent years, Rosland Capital has supported Sir Jackie Stewart’s Race Against Dementia Charity and the Keep Fighting Foundation inspired by Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher. Learn more about Rosland Capital’s past and current philanthropic efforts today.