Judy Murray hits out at “everyday sexism” of Giffnock Tennis Club

Judy Murray took to Twitter to vent her frustrations. Robert Perry
Judy Murray took to Twitter to vent her frustrations. Robert Perry

Tennis celebrity Judy Murray has accused a local tennis club of “every day sexism” over the alleged demotion of a female coach after she had a baby.

Ms Murray, 59, mum to tennis stars Jamie and Andy, used social media to direct a volley of criticism towards the 100-year-old Giffnock Tennis Squash and Hockey Club.

While she chose not to name the club, it is clear she was describing the case of Stephanie Norris, the accomplished head coach of the elite sports club where fees can top £636 per year.

Judy wrote on Twitter last week: ”When a young head coach at one of Scotland’s biggest tennis clubs returns to work after having a baby…..and discovers she has been demoted and her hours reduced WITHOUT ANY CONSULTATION.”

She signed off with the hashtag ‘everydaysexism’ and included an angry emoji.

Her intervention has prompted a flood of responses from her Twitter followers, some of whom offered to provide legal advice. An investigation has also been ordered at the sport’s governing body, Tennis Scotland.

However, it is understood that Ms Norris has already formally begun an appeal at the country’s Employment Tribunal Service, which rules on disputes at work.

In April, 31-year-old Ms Norris gave an interview to the local paper where she grew up in Gourock, Inverclyde, in which she revealed she was the new head coach for the Ardgowan and Fort Matilda clubs, as well as tennis development officer for the area.

At the time, she said her daughter Hope was seven months old, suggesting she was born around September last year.

Sources at Giffnock confirmed that a preliminary tribunal hearing took place last week.

The club said it was being represented by a firm of solicitors, so was under instruction not to talk publicly about the case.

One long-standing member of the club’s Ladies section spoke of her surprise.

She said: “Steph just disappeared. We though she had decided not to come back to work.

“We didn’t know anything about any employment tribunal case until this weekend.”

The Greenock Telegraph report said Ms Norris – who married finance William Swan last month – had completed a sports management degree at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She spent a year working in Australia before settling into her role at Giffnock, where she spent six years.

On her new post, Stephanie told the paper: “This job is to grow the programme and when people come try to get them to come all the time - and not just in the two weeks when Murray Mania hits Wimbledon.

“In the next six months, I will be planning a wedding, raising a bairn and developing a tennis programme.”

It is understood that Stephanie, an accredited coach with Tennis Scotland, the sport’s governing body, claims she was forced to accept reduced working hours and lost her role as head coach after being on maternity leave for several months.

Judy Murray’s intervention prompted an angry response from social media users with many asking whether the demotion was “legal” or sharing their own similar experiences.

Others asked her to “name and shame” the club.

Tennis Scotland, the sport’s governing body, said it was “alarmed” to learn of the allegations and had launched an investigation.

A spokesman for Tennis Scotland said it had not been approached for assistance by either the club or the coach involved, but added: “We are seeking clarification from the club involved.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Tennis Scotland is committed to equality both as an organisation and among our membership.

“Indeed, we wish to cultivate our position at the forefront of equality in Scottish sport, with the help of many partnerships including Judy Murray’s She Rallies programme.It is worth noting that 42 per cent of Tennis Scotland’s members are female. Our strategy seeks to continually improve equality, diversity and inclusion at all levels of the sport.”