The tennis news of the week thus far has been about the men sliding onto red clay in Monte Carlo—and the tournament’s two biggest draws, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, sliding back out after their opening matches. Now, as the weekend approaches, attention will turn toward the women, as they don their national colors and compete for their countries in the Billie Jean King Cup qualifying round. On Friday and Saturday, 14 teams will face off in seven ties around the world; the winners will join Switzerland, Australia, Belgium, and Slovakia in the finals, which will be held the second week in November at a location to be determined.
Iga Swiatek, Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez, Angelique Kerber, and Elena Rybakina are among the better-known names who will participate this weekend. But the highlight, from a world-events perspective, is the U.S.-Ukraine tie in Asheville, N.C. The USTA will donate 10 percent of ticket sales to Ukraine crisis relief, and King, who will be on hand, will donate $50,000 with her partner, Ilana Kloss.
So at one level, this should feel like a contest among friends and allies, rather than enemies. But there’s still tennis to be played, and a spot in the final stage to be earned. Right now, the U.S. is loaded with Top 50 WTA players, and a BJK Cup title in November would seem to be within reach. For this tie, No. 14 Jessica Pegula and No. 43 Alison Riske will play singles, while Shelby Rogers and Desirae Krawczyk are scheduled to play the doubles match on Saturday.