Judy Murray: Scot quits as GB's Fed Cup captain

By Russell FullerBBC tennis correspondent
Murray advises teenager Katie Swan during the tie with Belgium
Murray advises teenager Katie Swan during the tie with Belgium

Judy Murray has stepped down as Great Britain's Fed Cup captain after five years in the role.

The Lawn Tennis Association confirmed February's promotion play-off defeat by Belgium was her last match in charge.

The Scot, 56, has spoken about spending more time as a grandmother after son Andy became a father in February.

There is no obvious replacement, though former British number one Anne Keothavong, who played 39 Fed Cup ties, would be a strong candidate.

Keothavong, 32, retired three years ago to pursue a career in broadcasting.

Murray expressed her frustration at the Fed Cup format, which she said was "in desperate need of a revamp".

She added: "Team competition engages players and fans much more than individual events. It's crucial we use this global competition as a means of attracting and retaining girls in competitive tennis at every level.

"That requires more countries to have the opportunity of playing home and away ties so we can showcase our sport."

Anne Keothavong
Anne Keothavong became the first British woman for 16 years to make the WTA top 50 in 2009

The International Tennis Federation paid tribute to Murray and revealed that changes to team competitions were being considered and would be discussed at a meeting in June.

"Like many captains and nations, Judy would like to see the Fed Cup format changed to a 16-team World Group which would allow more movement of teams from Zonal Groups into the World Group," The ITF said.

"This is a view shared by ITF President David Haggerty who, with the board, are looking at reforms to Fed Cup as well as Davis Cup."

Britain have been stuck in the second tier of the Fed Cup for 12 years.

They qualified for World Group play-off ties in 2012 and 2013 but lost both, first to Sweden, then to Argentina, and had to return to the round robin stage the following year.

A wrist injury deprived the team of Laura Robson in 2014 and 2015, while Johanna Konta withdrew this year to avoid "jeopardising an ongoing intestinal issue".

Konta's decision, which was made just a few days after she reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, is said to have dismayed the captain.

It is clear the format of the Fed Cup has proved a great frustration for Murray, along with the politics of the Lawn Tennis Association.

Her ideas often seem at odds with the direction the governing body has taken.

It has also become apparent she feels more should have been done to build on the success of both of her sons and a generation of talented Scottish players.

It remains to be seen how involved Murray will want to be in the future of British tennis.

Her contract with the LTA allowed her to spend time mentoring some of Britain's most promising female coaches.

Murray's Tennis on the Road programme, which promises to "bring tennis to a whole new generation of kids" in Scotland, is now supported by the LTA, too.

Her Miss-Hits scheme, which targets girls between the age of five and eight, was launched in partnership with the LTA in the summer of 2014.

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