Judy Murray: I'd Rather See Men Play Three Sets

16 August 2017, 07:38

Judy Murray

Judy Murray has suggested she would prefer to see men playing to three sets instead of five in major tennis tournaments.

The tennis coach admitted that five-set thrillers in Grand Slams can be a "great spectacle" but said they can be "so tough" on the players, especially in hot climates.

She suggested that allowing the men to play to the best of three sets, as is the case in the women's game, could also free up more of the top male players to participate in doubles and mixed doubles matches.

In many tournaments, men and women play to the best of three sets, but in the Grand Slams - the Australian, French and US Opens and Wimbledon - the men play best of five.

Mrs Murray made the comments during a wide-ranging discussion on Tuesday evening at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF).

During an audience question-and-answer session, she was asked for her views on equal pay for women tennis players and whether they should also play five sets.

She told the packed gathering: "I think that I would rather see the men play three sets and having it all as three sets.

"I think there are implications of the women playing five sets that actually would mean that the tournament needs more court time. It just would take a whole lot longer.

"I think the five sets is a great spectacle and special at a Grand Slam, for example. But for the guys ... sometimes you're out there for four or five hours. Especially if you are playing in Australia where the heat is just amazing, it just takes so much out of them, it's so tough on them.

"I think the women actually have an advantage only playing three sets in that most of them, if they choose to, can play doubles and mixed as well.

"You'll never get the top men being able to do that because the five sets physically take so much out of them. So I'd probably rather see it go the other way and the men playing three."

On pay, she pointed to "market forces" dictating pay levels on the men's and women's tours, but said: "At the slams, I think it's fine for them to have the same money."

Mrs Murray, a former captain of Great Britain's Fed Cup team, touched on various topics during the session, including the careers of her sons Andy and Jamie Murray.

She also claimed that Scotland has not yet capitalised on her sons' successes, a situation she described as "gobsmacking".

Mrs Murray told the audience: "I think indoor facilities we need to become a 12-months-of-the-year sport.

"I think what kills me currently is that we haven't had any new indoor courts in Scotland in the 10 years that Andy's been in the top five.

"To me it's just gobsmacking that we haven't capitalised on the success."

Mrs Murray was discussing her book, entitled Knowing the Score, at the event chaired by Ruth Wishart.

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