Judy Murray admits she finds watching her famous tennis-playing sons “too stressful” and derives more from satisfaction from her grass-roots coaching.
Instead of watching the action in the Artois Championship, the mother of British No1 Andy Murray and Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Jamie spent the weekend in Birmingham helping to nurture the next British women’s world champion in her role as a national coach with the LTA.
“People say why aren’t you watching Jamie at Queen’s but I’d rather be doing this,” she admitted. “That’s too stressful.
“I love working with little kids and they will remember days like this. It’s just something that I can do well and I like doing it.”
Judy Murray was at the DFS Classic in Edgbaston to conduct a grass-court clinic for six of Britain’s best 10-year-olds.
The girls – Maia Lumsden, Lidia Burrows, Anastasia Mikheeva, Livvy Tomkins, Alexandra Herd and Eden Richardson – were all selected from national talent identification days and given the opportunity to immerse themselves in a Sony Ericsson WTA tour event in the build-up to Wimbledon.
“Hopefully this will inspire them to work hard and to begin to understand what life is like on the pro circuit,” added Murray. “We have a really good crop of girls who were born in 1998.”
Murray has not lost her motherly instinct, however, and has no plans to work full-time just in case she is needed by either of her sons.
“They are older now and they have obviously got their own teams around them,” she said.
“I still have certain things that I help them out with, making sure everything is in the right place at the right time, that they get paid and I help out with their websites and accounts and all that boring stuff in the background.
“There’s no need for me to be around on a day-to-day basis. I haven’t had to do that for a couple of years.
“But I don’t want to work full-time because you never know when there’s going to be a problem.
“If there’s an injury or a problem with a coach or anything like that, I would always want to know that I’ve got the time to go and help them sort something out.
“They make their own decisions but sometimes they need somebody to bounce things off and you need to have someone who understands the whole picture.”
Although Judy clearly helped both Andy and Jamie build their careers, she claimed she has gained more pleasure from lower-profile achievements.
“I often get asked what’s the coaching success that’s meant the most and I always say it’s when the Dunblane High School boys team won the Scottish Schools Championship in 1994,” she explained.
“I basically took the team in order to get out of the house – the boys were six or seven at the time – and they were all kids who just liked to play but none of them were extra special.
“Being able to sit on Centre Court and watch Andy beating (Andy) Roddick for example was great and Jamie winning at Wimbledon but other things are just as big an achievement.
“It doesn’t matter what level it is, it’s just the achievement at whatever level you’re playing at.”
Statistics produced by the LTA reveal that girls are outnumbered three to one by boys when it comes to competitive tennis and that is one of the motivational factors behind Murray’s drive to work with young girls.
“We’ve been pretty good in this country at producing kids who hit the ball pretty well but we’ve not been good at producing match winners and that’s really what I want to try and help them with,” she said.
“There is a huge amount of girls coming from the Eastern bloc with a massive hunger because they have a desire to create a better life for themselves.
“When Andy went over to Spain at 15, he stayed in a dorm to start off with and he was away from home for the best part of two and a half to three years. It didn’t bother him at all and really helped to shape him for the kind of life he’s gone on to lead.
“We have to find a way to get British youngsters to understand what it’s really like on tour because, if everything is too easy and comfortable, I think it is less likely to produce champions.
“At the last training camp that we did I taught them to keep the score in French because, if the have the opportunity to play abroad, it’s very likely their first tournament will be in France.
“You have to show them what it’s all about and find out if they really want it. One thing I want to do is start to take them overseas, not for tournaments but to go to clubs and coaches that I know to play matches against other kids.
“We’ll go on a Friday on a low-cost flight, stay in a crap hotel or hostel so they get used to the travel and get used to staying in other places and used to having to eat food they’re not used to.”