The BNP Paribas World Team Cup is the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup. There are divisions for men, women, quads and a junior event supported by the Cruyff Foundation. It is held annually with a different nation playing host each year.
The World Team Cup was created in 1985 due to the growth of foreign participation in the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. It began more as a fun event that was used as a warm-up tournament the weekend before the US Open. It was also felt that it would create international camaraderie and one day the tournament would stand on its own. Just six men's teams competed in the inaugural event with women joining the competition with two teams the following year.
By 1991, the US Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships and the World Team Cup had grown beyond anyone's expectations and having the events back-to-back was too much. It was hard on the tournament organisers and the top players and it was felt the time had come to move to a new location and a different time of year.
Following discussions at the IWTF Annual General Meeting, Belgium said that they would love to hold the event and in 1992, the World Team Cup moved outside the USA for the first time. The event has now been staged in 16 different countries and is a massive stand-alone tournament with over 300 participants and around 150 additional guests and coaches each year.
BNP Paribas became the title sponsor for the event in 2011, following 15 years of sponsorship by Invacare.
The 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup was hosted by the Turkish Sports Federation for the Disabled (TSFD) and was held in Antalya, Turkey. The TSFD previously hosted this flagship event in 2010, and was as successful this year as it was then. The victors of the 2013 edition were:
Men's World Group - FRANCE (S. Houdet, N. Peifer & F. Cattaneo)
Men's World Group II - AUSTRALIA (B. Weekes, A. Kellerman & O. Keegan)
Women - THE NETHERLANDS (A. Van Koot, J. Griffioen & S. Walraven)
Quad - USA (D. Wagner, N. Taylor, G. Hasterok & Bryan Barten)
Junior - GREAT BRITAIN (A. Hewett, L. Jones & L. Merry)
Earlier in the year Regional Qualifications were held in Africa (Kenya), the Americas (USA) and Europe (Turkey) as part of the new format introduced in 2012, allowing nations the chance to win places in either men’s World Group II or the women’s World Group.
Looking ahead to 2014, the Host Nations for the Regional Qualifications have been confirmed as Kenya and Turkey for the Africas and Europe respectively, both hosting for a third year running, and Sri Lanka (Asia) and Puerto Rico (Americas) who will be hosting for the first time.
The 2014 BNP Paribas World Team Cup will be held in The Netherlands from 26th May to 1st June.
"There is no question that representing your country while playing sport is an extremely exciting and rewarding feeling, one that only a select few will ever experience. The World Team Cup gave wheelchair tennis a new meaning when it first occurred in 1985 and the sport truly became international."
- Brad Parks, USA