Judy Murray explains decision to become Fed Cup captain

New Fed Cup captain Judy Murray has revealed a reunion with Leon Smith convinced her to take up the challenge of coaching Great Britain's tennis stars.

The Scot will take charge of the British team in February as they bid to climb into World Cup Group II.

"Leon contacted me a few weeks ago to say he was taking over the women's side and asked if I would be interested in a role," Murray said.

"I'm really excited to get started."

Murray first worked with the Lawn Tennis Association's head of women's tennis, Smith, in Scotland more than a decade ago. The Glasgow-native coached Murray's son, Andy, when the world number four ranked player was 11.

Murray also stated her belief that sexism still exists within the British tennis coaching fraternity. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, she said: "There probably is a little bit [of sexism].

GB'S TOP-RANKED WOMEN

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

''I think we're pretty much outnumbered about 10 to 1 male coaches to female coaches on the performance side of the game and it's something I'd very much like to try to rectify, so that is another part of my role beyond the Fed Cup is to try to help develop a female coaching workforce."

The LTA declined to comment but a spokesman told BBC Sport that 24 per cent of the 1,652 licenced coaches in the UK were female.

Murray, also mother to doubles player Jamie, will lead the team for the first time in the new year as they travel to Israel as one of 15 sides from Europe/Africa Zone Group I aiming to earn a place in World Group II.

Britain has three women - Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong and Heather Watson - inside the world's top 100, while Laura Robson is ranked at 132.

Murray added: "It is very difficult because there's 15 teams in the group and only two will go through.

"You have to win three matches to get out of your group, and then you need to win another one in the play-off, and there are some very strong teams in there.

"If our girls are playing well and we have a favourable draw, then I really think anything's possible."