Strictly Come Dancing star Judy Murray inspires future stars of women’s tennis

Judy Murray with Batchwood level 3 tennis coach for Miss Hits Kelly Fagan

Judy Murray with Batchwood level 3 tennis coach for Miss Hits Kelly Fagan - Credit: Archant

A tennis centre welcomed top coach Judy Murray as part of a bid to get young girls into tennis.

The mother of international tennis player Andy Murray visited Batchwood Tennis Centre in St Albans on June 5 to train up their coaches on her new programme, Miss Hits.

The scheme aims to get five to eight year old girls into the sport and took two years to create.

It came about following Judy’s time coaching the British Women’s team at the Fed Cup in 2012.

She said: “I started to look at how we might win the Fed cup in years to come, and of course for us to become a strong tennis nation on the women’s side.

“It was clear after doing a lot of digging through the age groups and into our talent identification scheme that our numbers at entry level are very small, and then of course you lose players on the way up.”

She hopes to encourage young girls to stay in tennis by making it more attractive to them.

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“We need to make it more fun, but also grow the female coaches workforce,” she added.

She said that improving women’s role in the sport was very important for both men and women.

Judy said: “I think Andy’s decision to work with [coach] Amelie Mauresmo really helped to highlight the fact that women can work at the top of the game; that’s not about gender it’s about skill set and the personality fit.”

Judy officially opened the Batchwood Sports Centre in July last year following its £6.6 million re-vamp.

She said: “I think this facility is absolutely wonderful. There’s a huge, huge outreach programme which gives many children the chance to try tennis, then of course if they like it, they have programmes for that right up to the top international junior level here.

“I wish we had many more Batchwoods across the UK.”

St Albans council leader, Julian Daly, commented: “It is a great honour that Judy continues to be involved in tennis at Batchwood Sports Centre after she re-opened this fantastic facility last year.

“Judy’s interest in this LTA high-performance tennis centre is much appreciated and is sure to inspire greater interest in the game locally.”