Fed Cup Structure

Castellaneta Marina, ITALY: Italian Francesca Schiavone plays French Nathalie Dechy and Severine Bremond in the deciding doubles with her teammate Roberta Vinci during the Fed Cup semi-final between Italy and France, 15 July 2007 in Castellaneta Marina, South Italy. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Over the years the Fed Cup has engendered enormous support from both players and fans alike. Due to the unprecedented growth of the tournament and the increase in the number of participating nations, changes were made to the original structure of the Fed Cup tennis tournament in 2005.

Emulating the Davis Cup structure and format, the Fed Cup is divided into two, elite World Groups. Each group is represented by eight nations that play at home and away over three weekends each year.

Those countries that fail to qualify for either World Group are allocated to a specific geographic Zone. The three zones are again divided into groups according to their skill. Within the group zonal regions, teams are split into pools and play each other in a round robin format making for interesting Fed Cup odds.

Nations become eligible for the World Groups by:

  • World Group – The four nations that win their World Group first round remain in the group for the following year. The losers contest the World Group Play-offs against the four winning nations from World Group 2 to determine relegation or promotion for the following year
  • World Group 2 – The four winning nations of the first round of the World Group 2 will compete in the World Group Play-offs to determine promotion or relegation as above. The losers will face the winners of the Group 1 Zonal competitions, in the World Group 2 Play-offs to determine promotion or relegation.

Once in the World Group or World Group 2, the Fed Cup Committee in accordance with the ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking, seeds four nations in each group.

In Fed Cup structure the three geographic zones are: The Americas Zone, the Asia/Oceania Zone and the Europe/Africa Zone. The first two zones are divided into two groups and the last Zone is divided into three groups. Winners are either promoted or relegated to the different groups within each zone, apart from Group 1 winners who then compete in the World Group 2 Play-offs to determine promotion or relegation.

In the World Groups and the World Group Play-offs each tie is contested in a ‘best of five’ format, and is played over two days. The first day will see the two singles matches. The reverse singles and the doubles are played the following day. In the Zonal Groups, ties are contested over the best of three matches – two singles and a doubles.

  • First round ties in both World Groups are played on a home and away knock-out basis in the early part of the year
  • The World Group semis and final are played on a home and away knock-out basis and take place in April and November
  • World Group Play-offs will also be played on a home and away knock-out basis and take place in April
  • The choice of venue is decided is decided by lot or goes automatically to one of the competing nations
  • Lastly, in the new Fed Cup structure, the Zonal Groups are played in a round robin format at a single venue over one week at the beginning of the year