Her son is arguably the greatest tennis player Britain has ever produced and now thanks to Judy Murray, the women in British tennis are making a name for themselves.
After impressive victories over Portugal, Holland, Israel, and Austria in the Federation Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group I event, women’s tennis in Britain is at as high a level as it has been since Virginia Wade graced the court.
For the first time since 1993, Britain’s Fed Cup team has a chance to make it to the World Group stage.
Although modest in her role in Britain’s success, the reversal in fortunes has most certainly been down to the hard work the woman from Dunblane has devoted to the task in hand.
“I was given the opportunity to captain the Fed Cup team at the end of November and by the time all the agreements were in place, it was getting into December,” explained Murray to The Journal.
”This didn’t give me an awful lot of time to get to know the girls or the WTA tour before the first tie in Israel in February. In order to do the job as well as I possibly could, I left Scotland just after Christmas and went to Auckland and Hobart [Tasmania] to see the WTA events there with some of the girls from team GB.
"After that, I went onto the Australian Open so I was able to watch them play a decent number of matches. This also helped me get to know the women’s tour better too, because all my experience was in the juniors, ITF circuit and the men’s game.
"After the Fed Cup, I had actually been away from home for around five weeks. It was well worth it and it was absolutely the right thing to do in order to win.”
Murray and her team will next month take on Sweden in the Fed Cup World Group II play-offs. And, with the possibility of facing France, Switzerland, Sweden, or Argentina, the British tennis coach admits the draw could have been a lot more difficult.
“With the distance to travel and the conditions over there, it would have been a lot tougher to coordinate and adjust to a match against Argentina, for example," she added.
“Whoever we drew, though, represented a great opportunity for the girls to get into a play-off to get into the World Group, which is the top 16 teams in the world – our ranking in Fed Cup has recently gone up to 20 after coming through the matches in Israel.”
While Murray concedes Britain could have faced a tougher time of it on April 21 and 22, she is disappointed their encounter with the Scandinavians is not a home one.
“We would very much have liked to have a home tie, simply because there hasn’t been a home match in the Fed Cup in many, many years now [19 years]. It would have been a great opportunity to showcase British women’s tennis. It would have also been great for the fans to be able to come out and support the four top women in British tennis.”
In the men’s equivalent to the Fed Cup – the Davis Cup – Braehead Arena in Glasgow has hosted the last four ties, each attracting bumper crowds. And the mother to rising stars Andy and Jamie is convinced the unequivocal support would deliver a stronger standing for the Fed Cup among the British faithful.
“There’s a lot of interest from British tennis fans to support the girls," she said. “There’s excitement about British women’s tennis at the moment. We’ve got the two older players – Elena Baltacha and Anne Keothavong – who are playing the best tennis of their careers right now.
“Then we’ve got the two youngsters – Laura Robson and Heather Watson – who are both former junior Grand Slam champions and who are both ranked around the 100s. The youngsters are very exciting to watch and both are very different from each other in terms of the way they play. They are both very bubbly, fun personalities and they bring a lot of energy to the team.”
From the youngsters in the women's game to her own youngster at the top of the men's game, Murray has been a permanent fixture in her son’s player box for years now. While her new role as the captain of Britain’s Fed Cup team has certainly affected how much of Andy’s matches she can attend, his success, unsurprisingly, is still very much one of her main concerns.
At the age of 24, Andy is already the greatest British tennis player since Fred Perry with three grand slam finals, eight Masters 1000 titles and almost $20m in prize money. The only honour missing from Andy’s illustrious career is a Grand Slam title, though the appointment of eight-time champion, Ivan Lendl, as his head coach earlier this year shows the Scot is now taking every measure needed to claim his first major.
“He is in Miami with Lendl training at the moment,” said mum Judy. “Lendl has had a huge impact on Andy, mentally. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next three to six months, that’s when you’ll start to notice the difference. Lendl was very well known for his intensity on court and he will certainly help Andy with the mental edge.”
While Lendl has won almost every honour imaginable in the men’s game, one that eluded the Czech-born American was the Olympics – having been denied US Citizenship by Czechoslovakia in time for the 1988 Seoul Games.
This summer in London, Lendl’s new protégé will compete for singles gold. And Judy confirmed he'd be aiming for double gold, partnering his older brother in the doubles tournament.
“Wimbledon is the best of five sets,” she explained, “whereas the Olympics are the best of three sets, so there shouldn’t be a problem with fatigue. He is very keen to play. Playing in a home Olympics with your brother – it doesn’t get much more special than that. There’s no doubt he’ll be at the Games with Jamie.”
Along with the Olympics this summer, the Murray siblings are also working together with their mum to promote the family’s Set4Sport initiative, which Judy shared her enthusiasm for.
“We launched the Set4Sport program last June. It’s a collection of a lot of the fun games that we used to play as a family when Jamie and Andy were growing up. They were all things that were invented in our house and garden through playing with anything that was lying about, meaning it doesn’t require any special equipment, space, court or leisure centre. It’s just all things that can be easily set up at home.”
As well as captaining Britain’s Fed Cup team, supporting her sons on the ATP Tour and promoting her Set4Sport initiative, Judy also finds the time to back the ‘Tennis for Free’ charity.
She said: “’Tennis for Free’ is trying to bring tennis into council run parks, with free drop-in sessions and coaches. I’m a big supporter of what they’re trying to do – taking tennis into disadvantaged areas, where people might otherwise not have the chance to play.”
One area where Judy’s influence has brought a new lease of life to the game is Paisley – Scotland’s largest town with a population of around 75,000.
“There are no public courts in Paisley. At a time when kids in Scotland are buzzing about tennis because they have a role model with a Scottish player competing at the very top of the game, I couldn’t believe the biggest town in Scotland had no tennis courts. How are we supposed to grow the game?
“I contacted Roger Draper, head of the LTA, and he got on the case very quickly and five derelict courts near the Braehead Arena were refurbished. ‘Tennis for Free’ now run a free session every Saturday morning for two hours.
"Those sessions have been unbelievably well attended. It’s been a roaring success and I’m absolutely delighted. It’s now time to start looking at other big towns in Scotland that don’t have tennis facilities.”