Some of the biggest female sports stars on the planet do battle for their nations in the 2018 Fed Cup. Watch and bet on Fed Cup tennis live from around the world and get the latest news, tips, previews and predictions at live-tennis.com. 

Latest Fed Cup News

Latest Fed Cup 2018 Results

Defending champions USA got their title defence underway with a comfortable victory over Netherlands in Asheville, in a tie that marked Serena Williams’ return to competitive tennis. Following the birth of her child in September, Williams briefly returned to the courts in Abu Dhabi in December, when she took on Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match, but her first competitive appearance was in Asheville in February, where she teamed up with sister Venus for the doubles’ rubber, albeit a dead rubber. Venus had played a pivotal role in the American’s victory, as the veteran American defeated both Arantxa Rus and Richel Hogenkamp to score two points for her country, while last year’s Fed Cup heroine CoCo Vandeweghe battled past Hogenkamp to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead. With the Americans already through to the semi-finals, the crowd was given a treat as the Williams sisters stepped out for the doubles rubber, which was won by the Dutch pair of Lesley Kerkhove and Demi Schuurs.

USA visit France for the Fed Cup semifinals, after the French squeezed past Belgium in their own first round tie. Kristina Mladenovic was the heroine, winning three rubbers, including the tie clinching doubles’ rubber, where she joined forces with Amandine Hesse to defeat the Belgian pair of Elise Mertens and Kirsten Flipkens. 

Seeking only a third victory over the US in 14 attempts, the French have taken the champions to the clay courts of Aix-en-Provence for April’s semifinals, where they will attempt to qualify for just their second Fed Cup final since 2005.

Modern-day power-houses Czech Republic visit Germany for the second semi-final, where they will look to extend a dominant 7-1 record against the hosts. The powerful Czechs have been Fed Cup champions five times in the last seven years; and are competing in their tenth straight semi-final. They eased past Switzerland in the first round, thanks largely to Petra Kvitova’s victories over Victoria Golubic and Belinda Bencic. Barbora Strycova also beat Bencic as the Czechs closed out the tie after three rubbers.

Germany’s route to the semi-finals was a lot more complex, as they needed a deciding doubles rubber to see off last year’s finalists, Belarus. Tatjana Maria and Anna-Lena Groenefeld completed the job in the end, pulling off a three-set win over Aryna Sabalenka and Lidziya Marozava to send Germany into the semis for the first time since 2015. They will host Czech Republic on the indoor clay of the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart from 21-22 April.

In the World Group playoffs, to determine who stays in the elite group next season, and who drops off to the lower division, Belarus host Slovakia in Minsk, world number one, Simona Halep leads Romania against Switzerland in Cluj-Napoca, Australia entertain Netherlands in Wollongong, while Italy take on Belgium. All matches will be played from 21-22 April, 2018.

How does Fed Cup work?

The Fed Cup is effectively made up of three main groups - the World Group, the World Group II and the Zone Groups. The World Group is the elite division, which features eight nations, while the second tier World Group II also comprises eight countries, who battle for promotion into the premier division. The nations who do not make it into either of the top two divisions are placed into one of three zone groups, depending on the continent of the country. There is the Euro/Africa Zone, which houses countries in Africa and Europe, the American Zone is made up of countries in North and South America, while Asian and Oceanian nations fight for promotion in the Asia/Oceania Zone.

Each zone has its own sub-divisions- the American Zone has Groups 1 and 2; so does Asia/Oceania, while the Euro/Africa Zone, being the largest, has three sub-groups. 

Between the three main groups are intermediate play-off groups which determine promotion and relegation.
The World Group ties adopt a knock-out format, with the four winners advancing to the semi-finals while the four losers drop into the World Group play-offs. These four teams are joined in the play-offs by the four winners from the World Group II ties. The eight teams then play four knock-out ties, with the winners either preserving their World Group status, or earning promotion into the elite group, if they were previously in the World Group II.

Further down the Fed Cup strata, the losers in the World Group II ties drop into the intermediate World Group II play-offs, where they will battle against the four best teams from the Zone Groups for their World Group II status. The American and the Asia/Oceania teams produce one team each, while Euro/Africa has two teams in the World Group II play-offs. Whoever wins these play-offs will play in the World Group II division in the next season, while the losers drop into the Zone Groups.

The World Group and World Group II ties (including play-offs) are decided over best of five rubbers, played across two days. The first day, a Saturday, features two singles ties, while the reverse singles are played on Sunday. A deciding fifth rubber, should it be required is also played on Sunday.

The host nation for these ties is determined by where the countries last played. Whoever hosted the most recent meeting between the countries will be away for the next tie, and vice versa. If the countries have never met before, the choice of ground is determined by lot. 

The zone groups use a round-robin format, rather than the knock-out system employed by the higher divisions. The ties are played in one of the participating countries, and usually last up to four days. Ties are decided in best-of-three rubbers - two singles matches and one doubles rubber.

Fed Cup History

The Fed Cup officially began in 1963, but the seeds for the tournament were first sown in 1919, when Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman came up with the idea of a women’s team competition. Wightman did not get much by way of support, but in 1923, she went ahead to present a trophy, called the Wightman Cup, for the annual contest between the USA and Great Britain. The idea was picked up in 1962 by Mary Hardwick Hare, who persuaded the International Tennis Federation to start an international women’s team event. The ITF obliged in 1963, when the governing body created the Federation Cup. The first Federation Cup was a week-long event staged at the Queen’s Club in London and won by the United States. The tournament featured 16 nations and was graced by Grand Slam champions Billie Jean King, Darlene Hard, Lesley Turner and Margaret Court. 

The inaugural Federation Cup was a big success, considering the fact that there were no sponsors and prize money, and teams had to pay their own expenses. However, as the tournament grew in popularity and sponsors came on board, the competition expanded, and by 1994, there were 73 participating teams with the home nation required to construct a special tennis complex in what became known as the Fed Cup legacy.

The rapid expansion of the Federation Cup meant teams had to be split into regional qualifying divisions, which first came into place in 1992, and three years later in 1995, the competition underwent a change in nomenclature, as it became known as the Fed Cup. Along with the new name came a new format, as the Fed Cup employed a home-and-away system so that players could play for their countries on home soil.
Several other transformations have occurred since then, but the current format, featuring eight-nation World Group and World Group II divisions and three region-based zonal groups has been in effect since 2005.

Fed Cup statistics

Fed Cup Champions

Past winners of the Fed Cup

YearChampionRunner-up
1963USAAustralia
1964AustraliaUSA
1965Australia (2)USA
1966USA (2)West Germany
1967USA (3)Great Britain
1968Australia (3)Netherlands
1969USA (4)Australia
1970Australia (4)West Germany
1971Australia (5)Great Britain
1972South AfricaGreat Britain
1973Australia (6)South Africa
1974Australia (7)USA
1975CzechoslovakiaAustralia
1976USA (5)Australia
1977USA (6)Australia
1978USA (7)Australia
1979USA (8)Australia
1980USA (9) Australia
1981USA (10)Great Britain
1982USA (11)West Germany
1983Czechoslovakia (2)West Germany
1984Czechoslovakia (3)Australia
1985Czechoslovakia (4)USA
1986USA (12)Czechoslovakia
1987West GermanyUSA
1988Czechoslovakia (5)USSR
1989USA (13)Spain
1990USA (14)USSR
1991Spain USA
1992Germany (2)Spain
1993Spain (2)Australia
1994Spain (3)USA
1995Spain (4)USA
1996USA (15)Spain
1997FranceNetherlands
1998Spain (5)Switzerland
1999USA (16)Russia
2000USA (17)Spain
2001BelgiumRussia
2002SlovakiaSpain
2003France (2)USA
2004Russia France
2005Russia (2)France
2006ItalyBelgium
2007Russia (3)Italy
2008Russia (4)Spain
2009Italy (2)USA
2010Italy (3)USA
2011Czech Republic (6)Russia
2012Czech Republic (7)Serbia
2013Italy (4)Russia
2014Czech Republic (8)Germany
2015Czech Republic (9)Russia
2016Czech Republic (10)France
2017USA (18)Belarus

Who are the greatest Fed Cup players?

The Fed Cup may be a team event, but some of the best players in the world have represented their countries with distinction. 

The United States have won more than anybody else, and unsurprisingly, they have had several Fed Cup heroines over the years. From Billie Jean King in 1963 to CoCo Vandeweghe in 2017, the US have produced some of the finest Fed Cup stars. King amassed a 52-4 record during her Fed Cup career; and captained her country to four titles. Chris Evert has the best winning streak of any woman in Fed Cup singles matches, going unbeaten for 29 matches from her tournament debut in 1977 until she lost to Italian Sandra Cecchini in the opening rubber of the 1986 quarter final in Prague. Evert won more Fed Cup rubbers than any other American woman, winning 57 of her 61 ties, including an amazing 40-2 record in singles’ rubbers.

Martina Navratilova, who represented both Czechoslovakia and the USA, is joint-second on 20 matches- a record she shares with Australian great, Margaret Court. Interestingly, Navratilova and Court never lost a Fed Cup singles rubber, with both boasting incredible 20-0 records. Serena Williams is also unbeaten in singles rubbers.

However, Spaniard, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario leads the way in terms of overall number of match wins- the Spaniard won 72 of her 100 Fed Cup rubbers, including 50 of 72 singles’ rubbers, which is also a record. Sanchez Vicario’s compatriot, Conchita Martinez is second on the singles’ list with 47 wins. The Spanish duo won 18 doubles matches together, more than any other pair in the history of the Fed Cup. Sanchez Vicario and Martinez won five Fed Cup titles together; and reached five other finals.

For all their greatness, the Spaniards are well behind Luxembourg’s Anne Kremer’s record number of Fed Cup ties, which stands at 74.

Special mention for Great Britain’s Virginia Wade, one of the greatest players never to win the Fed Cup. The three-time Grand Slam singles’ champion reached four Fed Cup finals; and won 66 rubbers through a distinguished career. 

Lead by Helena Sukova, Czechoslovakia won four Fed Cup titles in the 1980’s, but the modern-day Czechs, spearheaded by Petra Kvitova have outdone that run, winning five of the last seven titles. Petr Pala has been captain in all five triumphs, making him the most successful captain in the competition’s history.

Fed Cup records

Individual records in Fed Cup play

Most titles USA18 titles1963, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2017
Most rubbers played100Arantxa Sanchez VicarioSpain
Most ties played74Anne KremerLuxembourg
Most rubbers won (overall)72Arantxa Sanchez VicarioSpain
Most rubbers won (singles)50Arantxa Sanchez VicarioSpain
Most rubbers won (doubles)38Larisa NeilandUSSR/Latvia
Longest rubber4 hours (7-6(7), 5-7, 10-8)Richel Hogenkamp (Netherlands) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)2016 World Group
Most successful captain4 titlesPetr PalaCzech Republic

Fed Cup tips

Defending champions USA and the powerful Czechs are the favourites to make the final, but the two countries face tricky semi-final trips in April. The Americans are without the Williams sisters as they go to play France on the clay of Aix-en-Provence, while the Czech Republic have also been dragged to their less favoured clay by the Germans, who host the tie at the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart. With Angelique Kerber and Julia Goerges in their side, the Germans have got a terrific chance of scoring just a second win in eight Fed Cup ties against Czech Republic.

The USA are without Serena and Venus Williams, but such is the depth of American tennis that they have still got three top-20 players to call on. Sloane Stephens leads the American challenge in France, while Madison Keys and CoCo Vandeweghe are also part of the side. None of those players play their best tennis on clay, but they should still have enough firepower against a French side that continues to be without its highest-ranked player, Caroline Garcia.

Back Aryna Sabalenka and Aliaksandra Sasnovich to preserve Belarus’ Fed Cup status with victory over Slovakia in their play-off tie in Minsk; world number one, Simona Halep should be the difference when Romania host Switzerland; Australia are firm favourites to reach the World Group when they welcome Netherlands to Wollongong; while Italy’s perfect 7-0 record over Belgium is at risk when the sides meet in a World Group Play-Off tie, as the visiting Belgians boast a much stronger squad.

Fed Cup Live Streaming

Matches from all levels of Fed Cup, from the World Group final in October to the zonal groups, are available to stream live online. 

With so many of the world's top players passionate about representing their countries as they bid for Fed Cup glory, you can see top-10 players face off in a unique pressure-cooker atmosphere which cows some players and brings the best out of others. 

Bookmakers have licensed these streams so that customers betting on the match or with funded accounts can enjoy live streaming of Fed Cup tennis matches, whether they are in their own home or on the go. Streams are available on computer, tablets, mobiles and all devices. 

Whether you’re partaking in some in-play betting or just tuning in to see how a favourite gets on, you can enjoy safe, legal, high-quality streams of Fed Cup matches. 

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