Former British Fed Cup captain Judy Murray has been working relentlessly to promote tennis at the grassroots level across the United Kingdom and Scotland. And she feels that there need to be some changes in the way children are introduced to the game in the United Kingdom.
In an interview with Tennis365, Murray says, "Coaches or people who run club activity need to introduce kids to fun competitions at a young age and we need to ensure we don’t make things too competitive too quickly.
We need to make sure our sport is fun and keeps junior players of all ages engaged. What we need is a program where we have opportunities to compete at the level they want. This is especially the case for young girls, who tend to be less keen on individual competition and tend to gravitate towards team sports.
Of course, tennis is a lot about playing singles and being out there on your own from a young age and we need to make sure kids are ready for that before we put them in that position. That is why I feel we need a lot more doubles matches and team competitions, as that may be more appealing to a wider pool of young players."
Murray, whose sons Andy and Jamie have both become world champions, adds that having a fixed tournament schedule would also help parents and children. "I also like the idea of having a fixture list in tennis. We have that with netball, hockey and football teams and it means kids and parents know where they will be playing next and there is a structure to it all.
Then it becomes something they do with their friends, a fun activity with a little bit of competition added in. We don’t really have that in tennis at this moment because at the moment, it is generally up to parents to enter children into competitions on an individual basis.
With other sports, it is easier to work out when a tournament is going to start and finish. There tend to be time limits set and as a parent and a junior player, you can plan your day around the tournament. With tennis, matches can go on longer than you expect and that can put people off playing”.