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Fed Cup needs a major shake-up, insists Judy Murray

By Eleanor Crooks

Judy Murray has called for major changes to be made to the Fed Cup after resigning from her role as Great Britain captain.

Murray was appointed to lead Britain's team in the women's equivalent of the Davis Cup in 2011 but was unable to achieve her goal of promotion to the World Group.

The 56-year-old is stepping aside to focus on her grassroots programmes and to spend time with her family following the birth of grandchild Sophia, her son Andy's daughter.

She said: "The Fed Cup is in need of a revamp. Team competition engages players and fans more than individual events. It's crucial we use this global competition as a means of attracting and retaining girls at every level.

"That requires more countries to have the opportunity of playing home and away. The Fed Cup should be leading the way in promoting and showcasing competitive women's team tennis.

"Everyone can see the buzz created around the home ties of the Davis Cup. Fed Cup should be afforded a similar format."

Getting out of the Europe/Africa Zone, where Britain have been since the 1990s, is difficult.

Murray reached the World Group II play-offs in her first two years but Britain were beaten by Sweden and Argentina.

Maria Sharapova, meanwhile, has been suspended from her role as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador following her failed drug test.

The 28-year-old tested positive for Meldonium at the Australian Open and has been provisionally suspended pending an independent tribunal ruling on the case.

Sharapova was appointed to the role with the UN Development Programme in 2007.

A UNDP spokeswoman said: "In light of Ms Sharapova's recent announcement, we last week suspended her role as a Goodwill Ambassador and any planned activities while the investigation continues. We wish Ms Sharapova the best."

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