LONDON, UK - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that 11-time Fed Cup champions Czech Republic have been awarded a wild card for the 2020 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Finals in Budapest, Hungary on 14-19 April 2020.
The Czechs will join 2019 finalists Australia and France and hosts Hungary at the all-new Finals event. The remaining eight teams at the 2020 Finals will be the winners of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Qualifiers – eight ties held in eight different locations around the world on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February next year.
Since winning its first Fed Cup title for 23 years in 2011, Czech Republic has been the dominant force in the competition, going on to win a further five titles in 2012, 2014-16 and 2018.
Captained by Petr Pala, the team has shown impressive strength in depth in recent years with top 10 players Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova supported by the likes of Lucie Safarova, Barbora Strycova, Katerina Siniakova and Marketa Vondrousova. The Czechs have been ranked No. 1 in the ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking since April 2014.
Following input from the Fed Cup Committee and ITF Board, the Fed Cup Finals Board unanimously voted to award the wild card to Czech Republic.
Czech Fed Cup captain Petr Pala said: “We are delighted the ITF has given a wild card to our Fed Cup team and are looking forward to the Finals. We intend to bring a strong team to contend for the title.”
ITF President David Haggerty said: “Czech Republic has a long and proud history in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas and deserves its place at the all-new 2020 Fed Cup Finals. The Czechs have been the team to beat in Fed Cup over the last decade, with Petr Pala having led the team through a remarkable period of dominance. We look forward to an exciting competition in Budapest next year.”
Czech Republic’s elevation to the 2020 Finals means that Netherlands – as the next-highest ranked losing nation in the 2019 World Group II play-offs – will compete in the Qualifiers in February. Great Britain will now become a seeded nation.
The draw for the Qualifiers will take place at the ITF offices in London on Wednesday 21 August 2019 at 1pm local time (1200 GMT). The seeds for the Qualifiers are based on the ITF Fed Cup Nations Ranking of 22 April 2019.
The eight seeded nations for the Qualifiers will be (rankings in brackets): USA (2), Belarus (5), Romania (6), Germany (7), Spain (8), Switzerland (9), Belgium (10) and Great Britain (11).
The eight unseeded nations for the Qualifiers will be: Latvia (12), Canada (13), Japan (14), Slovakia (15), Russia (16), Kazakhstan (17), Brazil (18) and Netherlands (19).
The draw will be streamed live on the Fed Cup website and social media channels.