The competition was known as the Federation Cup until 1995. The Fed Cup is the world's largest annual women's international team sports competition, in terms of the number of nations that compete. The men's equivalent of the Fed Cup is the Davis Cup. Australia, Czech Republic and the United States are the only countries that have held both the Fed Cup and Davis Cup at the same time.
The first Federation Cup had attracted 16 entry teams, despite no prize money and teams having to meet their own expenses. When sponsorship became available, the number of teams expanded dramatically, first by the Colgate Group in 1976, and, from 1981 to 1994 by the Japanese communications and computer giant NEC. In 1994, there were 73 nations competing.
Regional qualifying competitions emerged in time for the 1992 and, in 1995; the Federation Cup used a new format and shortened its name to the Fed Cup. The home-and-away format trialed by the Davis Cup was adopted for the Fed Cup so that women, could play for their country in their own country. There have been a number of smaller changes to the format since 1995, the current format, introduced in 2005.