Judy Murray named Great Britain Fed Cup captain by the LTA

Judy Murray has been named as Great Britain's new Fed Cup team captain by the Lawn Tennis Association.

Britain's Fed Cup post has been vacant since June, when Nigel Sears resigned as captain and head of women's tennis at the LTA  to coach Ana Ivanovic.

GB's next Fed Cup  tie will be a 15-team qualifier in Israel from 1-4 February.

Murray, the mother of British number one Andy and doubles specialist Jamie, said: "It is a huge honour for me to represent my country in this way."

To have someone of Judy's standing in the sport in such a key role for us is going to be a huge asset as we look to support our best players and coaches, and begin to climb up the ladder in world tennis

Davis Cup captain Leon Smith

A Scottish national coach for nine years, Murray will also work closely with the LTA player team in mentoring and supporting some of Britain's most promising female performance coaches.

Her recent work with the LTA  has centred around grassroots participation and improving facilities, while she also remains a member of Andy Murray's coaching team.

She added: "The role presents a very exciting challenge, given the mix of talent, experience and determination we have in our top female players right now. I'm also really looking forward to working with the LTA to develop a bigger and stronger female coaching workforce.

"I want to encourage more women to get involved in coaching at the highest level, and to personally support their development."

Leon Smith, the Davis Cup captain and head of men's tennis, took temporary charge of the women's game in October.

GB'S TOP-RANKED WOMEN

  • Elena Baltacha (world number 51)
  • Anne Keothavong (73)
  • Heather Watson (93)
  • Laura Robson (132)
  • Naomi Broady (194)

Smith has known the Murray family for many years, having taken over from Judy as Andy's coach when the now world number four was 11 years old.

He said: "To have someone of Judy's standing in the sport in such a key role for us is going to be a huge asset as we look to support our best players and coaches, and begin to climb up the ladder in world tennis.

"I know the players and the rest of the team are really excited about this."

Like the Davis Cup team, Great Britain are in the Fed Cup Europe/Africa Zone Group I and, with Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson and Laura Robson all making significant progress during 2011, hopes are high they could soon reach the World Group.

They are currently 26th in the Fed Cup nations' rankings  .

However, the regional group takes the form of a round-robin competition - being held in Eilat, Israel, in 2012 - with only two of the 15 teams achieving promotion.