Judy Murray misses early-morning action to focus on upcoming Fed Cup role


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Judy Murray woke yesterday to good news about her son's progress to the last four of the Australian Open. Having returned from Australia at the start of the week, Murray's focus is on her first fixture as captain of Britain's Fed Cup team – and that means no early mornings to watch events Down Under. At least not until Sunday.

Murray will take her new team to Israel this morning for next week's Euro/Africa Zone Group 1 tournament which will reduce 15 nations to two qualifiers for the World Group II. It means missing the finale to the Australian Open.

"I'm not always there," said Murray of being part of her son's entourage. "I went to all the Slams last year for the first time because Andy did not have a coach. This year he has a coach, he has his girlfriend with him and I've got my job to do. I just woke up and found he had won... no stress."

Murray was in Melbourne for the build-up and start to the tournament and witnessed the beginnings of Andy's new coaching set up with Ivan Lendl, a rather less animated presence in the stands.

"It is still a little bit early to tell," said Murray of Lendl's impact. "He only started with Ivan a few weeks ago, but all I can say is 'so far so good'."

Murray has been on the road since shortly after Christmas – taking in tournaments in Auckland, Hobart and Melbourne – in a bid to get a quick grasp on her new role. At her disposal is Britain's strongest team for some time with the experience of Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha to add to the youthful promise of Heather Watson and Laura Robson. All four were knocked out of the Australian Open in the first round, but there is a belief that Britain can get out of a group that also consists of the hosts Israel, Portugal and the Netherlands.

"We've got four players who can all play to a very high level," said Murray. "It's an exciting time for women's tennis in Britain. I really do believe that. We've got some good young players coming up as well. It's going to be a big challenge for me but a very exciting one too."

It has, though, required something of a crash course in the women's game. "I'm far more familiar with the men's side of the game," said Murray, who is a former Scotland national coach but has never taken on a captain's role before. "I have no idea how good I will be at it, but I am good at analysing tennis matches."