Judy Murray has suggested that tennis [VIDEO] is in need of its own #MeToo movement in light of the abuse of teenage girls in the sport as well as the sexism she has experienced throughout her own career on the lead up to Wimbledon. [VIDEO]

Murray, who was initially reluctant to speak out against Tennis authorities until her sons had retired, has published several of her experiences in a sport still dominated by men in her recently released memoir, ‘Knowing the Score.’

Sexist experiences

Her experiences include being conveyed as a monster mum and having her looks called into question so much that she became self-conscious enough to get her teeth straightened and whitened.

There was an instance whereby tennis player Boris Becker suggested that Andy Murray wouldn’t win a grand slam until he cut his 'umbilical cord'. Meanwhile, there was the time when she collected an award on his behalf and comedian Tam Cowan, who was presenting the ceremony, looked her up and down before asking whether she couldn’t have bought anything decent to wear. An incident which Murray said crushed her.

Dysfunctional culture

She also chronicles what she refers to as the dysfunctional culture which she experienced when she was appointed the captain of the Fed Cup in 2011, a role which she continued for five years. While she notes there was a great camaraderie between the men, she found that the women rarely spoke to each other – not even their own teammates as they were conditioned to believe that to be competitive, they had to be enemies.

However, Murray told them this is nonsense and that they would get nowhere without at least mutual respect. She adds that tennis can be lonely, especially for young girls on tour, whose bodies are changing rapidly yet they have no-one to confide in. These girls feel uncomfortable discussing their predicament with their coach or hitting partner, who they spend the most time with, as they are often older males and there are very few female coaches around.

#MeToo

She adds that the need for tennis’ own #MeToo movement will only become evident when an independent sports body is established for current players to go to where they know somebody will listen and take action. When asked about whether she has heard of cases of emotional, physical and sexual abuse she says that she thinks most people in the circuit would have examples.

Current endeavours

In response to what she has faced and in an effort to encourage young girls into the sport, Murray devotes much of her time to ‘Miss-Hits tennis,’ a scheme which aims to introduce girls aged 5-8 to tennis in an all-girl environment to learn about the game through a series of ‘Miss-Hits’ characters.

However, she has stated that she will not be coaching her granddaughters anytime soon.

She also spends much of her time travelling through Scotland in a muralled mini-bus, offering free lessons to encourage children to take up the sport. Aside from this, she has also recently launched the Judy Murray Foundation, which aims to get people more active in rural and deprived areas and is also in the process of creating a decent sports centre which is estimated to cost between £10-12m in Scotland to encourage emerging talent.

Wimbledon

With Andy Murray pulling out of Wimbledon, two days before it begins, and Judy Murray spending much of her time focused on other endeavours, many think that he has seen his heyday but when asked whether he could win another grand slam, she says “If his body allows him to. I think he’s got unfinished business. He’s one of those kids that, if somebody tells him he can’t do something, he’ll go out of his way to prove you wrong.”