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Judy Murray: How I'll make Great Britain a Fed Cup force

Judy Murray's project to get Great Britain competing at the Fed Cup began in 2011 Julian Finney/Getty Images for LTA

While her sons Andy and Jamie prepare to bring the Davis Cup back to British shores for the first time since 1936, Judy Murray is busy plotting the nation's revival in the ladies equivalent: the Fed Cup.

Great Britain have reached the final of the competition, inaugurated in 1963 as the Federation Cup to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the International Tennis Federation, on just 4 occasions -- 1967, 1971, 1972 and 1981.

But not only did they suffer defeat on all each time, they were beaten out of sight, losing 0-3 to the U.S. twice and Australia, as well as a 1-2 reverse to South Africa.

Three-time grand slam champion Virginia Wade has remained Great Britain's only ever point winner in a Fed Cup final.

Great Britain are currently in Group One of the Europe/Africa Zone, the third tier in the complex Fed Cup pyramid structure. This year, Murray led her team to top spot in Pool B with 2 wins from 3 before losing 2-0 to Belarus in a promotion playoff.

Murray has a tough task of leading them to Fed Cup glory, but when ESPN met her at the Roehampton Club, a baseline lob away from the ITF's headquarters at the National Tennis Centre -- and not far from Wimbledon -- she explained her plans to complete it.

"You need a top-5 player, you need your No.2 player to be somewhere between 15 and 20, and you need at least one doubles specialist," she said.

"We don't have any of that. We've got a couple of very promising players in Laura Robson and Heather Watson, who are not quite at that level yet."

The line-ups for this year's finalists, Russia and the Czech Republic, who face off in Prague this weekend, highlighted what Britain need to aim at.

Russia can boast world No.4 Maria Sharapova and No.25 Svetlana Kuznetsova, while Elena Vesnina is ranked eighth in the doubles.

Their final opponents, meanwhile, have listed two top-10 singles players in Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova, who is also ranked No.4 in the doubles. The two teams have 18 grand slam and 12 Fed Cup titles between them.

By contrast, Great Britain's team have just three fourth-round appearances at slams between them, though Robson's doubles CV includes a quarterfinal appearance at the 2010 Australian Open, a runners-up medal at the Hopman Cup the same year, and a silver medal from the 2012 Olympics.

Murray, who took the captaincy role at the end of the 2011 campaign, said they must capitalise on her sons' progress. The Murray boys have not only performed well at the slams but almost, as a pair, dragged Great Britain to their first Davis Cup final appearance since 1978.

"I sense a huge opportunity because the profile of tennis is so much higher now, and to really make sure there is a lasting effect from that," she said.

"It's very difficult to produce a grand slam champion. But while very few go on to do it, we should have, in our country, as a grand slam nation and host of the biggest tennis tournament in the world, many more players playing at the top level of the game.

"The countries in the last few years who have been very strong in Fed Cup, including Russia and the Czech Republic, have huge strength in depth, and they're also very strong tennis nations."

"You need a top-five player, you need your No.2 player to be somewhere between 15 and 20, and you need at least one doubles specialist" Judy Murray on winning the Fed Cup

However, Murray had an answer for how to make Great Britain genuine rivals. "You're only as good as your grass roots," the 56-year-old said. "Our biggest problem is at entry level.

"If you look at what's coming through the junior ranks in terms of girls competing at domestic level and those who are competing at international level, the numbers are tiny.

"When you go even deeper and look at the number of girls coming in to the game, they're outnumbered four-to-one by boys.

"Tennis is competing with so many different things for the attention of young girls now. Activities like cheerleading, gymnastics and dancing force tennis out.

"We need to get a lot more girls in, and we need to make sure we keep them there. Our sport has to be fun and attractive the whole way through.

"Big drivers in girls' sports are being with their friends and playing in teams. We have an individual sport and girls drop out because their pals don't do it or they have no one to play with.

"So I set about the program to make tennis more attractive to young girls and to also grow our female coach workforce because there are very few female coaches and the two go hand in hand.

"If we had more good coaches, we'd have more good players and if we had more great coaches we'd have more great players.

"This program is in the early stages and will take some time to bear fruit, but it's a long-term project.

"Young girls are generally not as competitive as boys. They like team competitions, but do we have enough team competitions? Do we have enough doubles competitions? Is everything too serious too soon? Are these affecting our numbers and our chances of producing better players at the top end of the game? I would say that yes, it is.

"There's talent everywhere, but it's all about getting the kids in then getting them to fall in love with the sport."

"It's a big job," Murray added with a smile, "but we've made a start on it."