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Judy Murray "definitely going to step back" from tennis roles

Judy Murray
© Reuters
The Scot will be at the cinch Championships at Queen's Club this week to support sons Andy and Jamie.

Lockdown gave Judy Murray a taste of retirement, and she found she rather liked it.

While best known among the wider public for being Andy and Jamie's mother, Judy has been a one-woman task force for growing tennis in Scotland and for girls and women across the UK and globally.

Since her days as the national coach for Scotland, when she helped a group of young players including her sons to make it to the professional game, Judy has been immersed in the sport, but now she wants to take a step back.

She told the PA news agency: "I'm used to travelling, it's been a way of life for me since the kids were very young and when I was the Scottish national coach.

"It has been really strange but I have to say that I really enjoyed most of the first lockdown because it gave me a chance to step back and chill out and not be packing a suitcase or jumping on a plane. It made me see what retirement looked like, and I quite liked it.

"I'm definitely going to step back. I realise I'm getting a bit long in the tooth and I've been doing this for such a long time. It's actually now time for the next generation to step up."

That means carrying on and building on the work Judy has done to make teaching tennis fun and inclusive and taking the sport out of its traditional communities.

This week Judy is working with cinch, title sponsors of the cinch Championships at Queen's Club, who are offering the chance to win free tennis lessons.

"I really love things like that because not everybody can afford lessons, not everybody has access to a coach, so it's really opening the opportunity up to everybody," said Judy.

"For me tennis is the number one family sport and you can play all your life. I've always wanted us to create a culture of tennis like you find in Spain or France. France has 10 times as many people who play tennis as us and probably 10 times as many clubs and 10 times as many competitions.

"For us to have a culture of tennis, we have to open it up so that we get bigger numbers. Everything's about numbers. Sport runs through families. You can see that in our family with Andy and Jamie, and my parents played at county level."

Judy Murray, left, with son Andy at Wimbledon
Judy Murray, left, with son Andy at Wimbledon (Victoria Jones/PA)

Judy has travelled less to watch her sons in recent years but is looking forward to seeing them back in action at Queen's having not watched any of their matches in person since last summer.

"I'm really looking forward to it," she said. "I love Queen's. It's one of my favourite tournaments. I think it's because it's at a club and it's grass courts and it's in Britain, so I've always loved that tournament.

"After the year and a half almost that we've had with so little live activity to watch, it'll be great to get back down there and see it all happening."

Although she will be less involved in tennis going forward, one thing Judy believes needs to happen is better support for young players in preparing them for life in the spotlight.

Naomi Osaka's announcement she would not be talking to the media at the French Open and subsequent withdrawal focused attention on the demands on young athletes.

"It's been a big thing for me for a long time is that not enough emphasis is put on understanding the life and business of a professional athlete in the early years," said Judy.

"We're preparing them to hit forehands and backhands and match tactics and so forth, but are we preparing them for doing a post-match interview and being able to speak in front of the media?

"When you get to the top of the game, if you are someone like Naomi Osaka, you're in front of a 200 or 300 press pack each time you have a real low. Andy was saying to me in 2016, the year he became world number one, he did over 100 press conferences.

"And of course he's older but I know how difficult it was for him when he was starting out. I would like to see a lot more emphasis on that, whether it's from the national governing bodies, the tours, the management companies or agents.

"I think there is a lot to be learned from the Osaka incident, and of course we have to be just as aware of helping players who have mental health issues as we are of the physical injury issues."

:: Judy Murray was talking ahead of the cinch Championships. cinch, lead partner of the LTA, is running a campaign to give away free tennis lessons this summer. For more information go to

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CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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