LONDON, England - Coach and former Great Britain Fed Cup captain Judy Murray thinks newly crowned French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko has all the qualities to be the next big star in women’s tennis.
“I’ve seen her quite a bit over the last few years when I was working on Fed Cup - they were in the same group as us,” said Murray, in an interview with wtatennis.com. “She has a massive ball strike, she’s totally fearless, and obviously she can be a breath of fresh air – she’s a new face.
“It can be quite tough when you unexpectedly break through like that. The important thing is that she has strong, sensible people around her that manage all the hype that will now follow her. I’m sure they’ll help her to keep developing her game and keep progressing – they’ll try and handle that additional attention and pressure that comes with being the emerging new star.”
Murray – mother of men’s singles No.1 Andy and doubles No.6 Jamie – says 2017 presents lots of opportunities for players like Ostapenko to break through and win Slams.
“Women’s tennis has been so fortunate over the last ten years or so to have had Serena and Venus, and Maria [Sharapova] – they are box office, and they are three of the most recognisable global women’s sports stars, and they happen to be tennis players, so they have done a massive job in terms of creating a huge profile around tennis. They’re so marketable and they’re so successful, they’re good at what they do. Now there is a void.
“There is no one stand-out player now on the women’s tour and so it’s a great opportunity for anybody to take their opportunities and work their way through.”
Judy Murray's new memoir Knowing The Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story is out now, published by Chatto & Windus.