While sons Andy Murray and Jamie Murray are speaking predominantly with their racquets at this Wimbledon, Judy Murray is again serving as a WTA Tour ambassador.
Addressing the eventual void left in the sport when active legends Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova retire, Murray spoke frankly, as usual: "I think you need your top ones that everyone identifies with within the sport and out of the sport."
Speaking with reporters, she noted that, "Women’s tennis has been very fortunate over the last 15 years or so—with Serena, Venus and Maria Sharapova, in particular—because they are global superstars of sport, and they happen to be tennis players."
While their fellow independent contractors in the sport have broken through with multiple major titles—Petra Kvitova, Garbine Muguruza and Naomi Osaka spring to mind—those pros have yet to penetrate global pop culture as have the troika of one-name tennis celebrities Murray named.
Murray went on: "They have created huge profiles for themselves and the sport itself because people who don’t play tennis know who they are because they’re in fashion magazines, they promote big brands, they’re on TV, and whether it’s sitcoms or chat shows or whatever, they are huge, huge profiles."
Unspoken in Murray's comments: the fact that the Williams sisters and Sharapova have greatly benefited from being born and/or raised in Western countries. Yea, in the United States. That Western-culture mentality makes for a certain geographic-cum-societal predisposition to marketability.
And if that's the barometer for potential or realized success off the courts—which it is for many brands and media entities of all kinds—one has to think that a player such as Osaka has a surefire, near-term chance to break through in this respect.
"I think they will be very missed when they are not there," Murray said, with Serena, Venus and Sharapova firmly front of mind. "We need somebody—and maybe not just one, but two—to actually fill that gap when they’re no longer there."
It could be that a certain Cori "Coco" Gauff would also be one to surge to such a level.
Only time will tell when that day will come, but this remains: The sole match every player certainly loses is against the proverbial Father Time. In the meantime, the WTA powers-that-be will certainly mind the gap.