Tracy Austin

Last updated

Tracy Austin
Austin 2009 US Open 02.jpg
Country (sports)United States
Residence Rolling Hills, California
Born (1962-12-12) December 12, 1962 (age 57)
Palos Verdes Peninsula, California
Height5 ft 5 in (165 cm)
Turned proOctober 23, 1978
RetiredJuly 1994
PlaysRight-handed
(two-handed backhand)
Prize money US$1,992,380 [1]
Int. Tennis HoF 1992 (member page)
Singles
Career record335–90 (78.82%) [1]
Career titles30 [1]
Highest ranking No. 1 (April 7, 1980) [2]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open QF (1981)
French Open QF (1982, 1983)
Wimbledon SF (1979, 1980)
US Open W (1979, 1981)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals W (1980)
Doubles
Career record13–16 [1]
Career titles4 [1]
Highest ranking41 (August 14, 1989) [2]
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon 3R (1977)
US Open QF (1978, 1979)
Mixed doubles
Career record15–6
Career titles1
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon W (1980)
US Open SF (1988)
Team competitions
Fed Cup W (1978, 1979, 1980)

Tracy Ann Austin Holt (born December 12, 1962) is an American former World No. 1 professional tennis player. She won three Grand Slam titles; the women's singles titles at the 1979 and 1981 US Opens, and the mixed doubles title at the Wimbledon Championships in 1980. Additionally, she won the WTA Tour Championships in 1980 and the year-ending Toyota Championships in 1981, both in singles. A series of injuries and a serious automobile accident cut short her career. Since 1979, she has been the youngest US Open female singles champion in history, and she is the youngest inductee of all time at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at age 29. Austin won singles titles on all playing surfaces: clay (both red clay and green clay), indoor carpet, grass, and hard courts.

Contents

Playing style

Austin possessed a solid baseline game, with a strong forehand and reliable two-fisted backhand. She struck the ball deep, with substantial pace (given the wooden racquet era of her prime), and with pinpoint accuracy, hitting on or near the lines. Often this aspect of her game has overshadowed her solid net game which resulted in a Wimbledon mixed doubles title with her brother John. Austin's first serve was a mid-paced high percentage shot that functioned well on all playing surfaces, and although her second serve has been described as lacking penetration, she rarely double faulted. She played an exhibition doubles match at age 12 in Claremont, Ca with Elgin Baylor, Lawrence Mc Cuthcheon, and Lea Antonoplis.

Career

1978 to 1980

Austin turned professional in October 1978. [3] That same month, she won her first professional singles title, defeating Betty Stöve in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, West Germany. [4] [5]

Austin defeated 35-year-old Billie Jean King in the quarterfinals of the 1979 Wimbledon Championships before losing to Martina Navratilova in straight sets in the semifinals. Austin then became the youngest ever US Open champion, aged 16 years and 9 months, by defeating Navratilova in the semifinals and Chris Evert in the final. Evert had been attempting to win the title for the fifth consecutive year. Earlier that year, Austin ended Evert's 125-match winning streak on clay by beating her 6–4, 2–6, 7–6 in a semifinal of the Italian Open. The Associated Press named Austin its Female Athlete of the Year for 1979.

Austin lost in the semifinals of both Grand Slam tournaments she played in 1980. Evonne Goolagong Cawley, seeded fourth and the eventual champion, defeated Austin at the Wimbledon Championships. As the top seed and defending champion at the US Open, Austin was expected to extend her five-match winning streak against third-ranked Evert. Austin took a 4–0 lead in the first set before Evert won 16 of the final 20 games to win the match. Evert went on to beat Hana Mandlíková in the final, thus securing for herself the year-ending World No. 1 ranking. Austin was ranked the World No. 1 singles player in 1980 for two weeks (April 7–20) and then for nineteen weeks (July 7-November 17), partly because she captured the two sponsors' tour-ending events. Austin defeated Navratilova to win the Avon Championships in March and Andrea Jaeger to capture the 1980 Colgate Series Championships in January 1981. In 1980, Austin won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with her brother John, becoming the first brother and sister team ever to win a Grand Slam title together.

1981 to 1983

During the first four months of 1981, Austin played only two events because of chronic injuries. On grass, she won the BMW Championships in Eastbourne, United Kingdom without losing a set before Pam Shriver beat her in a Wimbledon quarterfinal. Austin then won 26 consecutive matches and four consecutive tournaments. She defeated Shriver in the final of the Wells Fargo Open in San Diego and, three weeks later, she beat both Navratilova and Evert in straight sets to win the Canadian Open in Toronto. As the third-seeded player at the US Open, Austin defeated fourth-seeded Navratilova in the final. Navratilova, however, ended Austin's winning streak in the final of the U.S. Indoor Championships. In Europe during the autumn, Austin lost to Sue Barker in the quarterfinals of the Brighton International in Brighton, United Kingdom, but recovered the following week to defeat Navratilova in the final of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, West Germany. At the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, Austin was seeded second but lost to sixth-seeded Shriver in the Australian Open quarterfinals. The 1981 year-ending Toyota Series Championships featured two matches against Evert and one against Navratilova. Evert won her round robin match with Austin, before Austin defeated Evert in their semifinal. Austin then won the tournament with a three-set defeat of Navratilova. The Associated Press named Austin its 1981 Female Athlete of the Year for the second time.

Austin was the first opponent of Steffi Graf when the German made her professional debut at the 1982 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Austin defeated the 13-year-old Graf 6–4, 6–0.

Back injuries and recurring sciatica then began to impair Austin's effectiveness and sidelined her for long stretches. Billie Jean King, seeded twelfth, upset third-seeded Austin in the 1982 Wimbledon quarterfinals. Several weeks later, however, Austin won her 30th and final top-level singles title in San Diego. Austin had a good showing at the 1982 season-ending Toyota Series Championships where she defeated Jaeger, the World No. 3, in straight sets to reach the semifinals. However, she was unable to repeat 1981's victory over Evert, who double bageled her in the semifinals.

In 1983, she was the runner-up at the Family Circle Cup, losing the final to Navratilova in three sets. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open. But by the end of 1983, before her 21st birthday, Austin was essentially finished as a top ten player.

1988 to 1989

Austin began her first comeback on the tour in 1988, when she played in seven doubles tournaments, and in 1989, when she played in one doubles and two singles tournaments. A highlight of this comeback included a semifinal showing in the 1988 US Open mixed doubles with partner Ken Flach. [6] This comeback was ended by a near-fatal motor vehicle accident on August 3, 1989. [7]

1992

In 1992, Austin became the youngest person to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, at the age of 29.

1993 to 1994

She attempted a second comeback in 1993 and 1994 but was not particularly successful. In 1993, Austin upset Renee Stubbs and Katerina Maleeva at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California where she reached the round of 16 before losing to Stephanie Rottier. At the WTA Manhattan Beach event she upset both Gigi Fernández and Elena Likhovtseva before losing to Gabriela Sabatini in the round of 16. The wins over Maleeva, Fernandez, and Likhovtseva began a buzz that Austin might become at least a top twenty player again. However, in 1994, her results were not as promising and at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, Austin lost in the second round in two bagel sets to Steffi Graf, and Austin soon retired in June 1994. [6]

Family life and work as a tennis commentator

Austin's older sister, Pam, and her brothers, Jeff, Doug and John, were also professional tennis players. She is the sister-in-law of fitness author Denise Austin, who is married to Jeff. She is married to Scott Holt and is the mother of three sons, Sean, Brandon, and Dylan. Brandon currently is a member of the USC Tennis team, recruited by Coach Peter Smith.

As a child, Austin lived next door to Air Force Colonel Keith Lindell, who was responsible for the training of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts.

Since retiring as a player, Austin has worked as a commentator for NBC and the USA Network for the French Open and the US Open. During the 2000s she worked for the Seven Network, who broadcast the Australian Open and usually participates in the BBC's Wimbledon coverage. She began working for Tennis Channel in 2010 and joined their US Open team and later their Australian Open team in 2012. Austin has also worked for Canadian television for their coverage of the Rogers Cup since 2004.

Austin is the focus of David Foster Wallace's "How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart" (1992), a book review of Austin's memoir Beyond Center Court, critiquing the work for using the generic, bland clichés of sports autobiographies to hide the genuinely compelling and tragic story of Austin's career.

Major finals

Grand Slam finals

Singles: 2 (2 titles)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfaceOpponentScore
Winner 1979 US Open Hard Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert 6–4, 6–3
Winner 1981 US OpenHard Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–1)

Mixed doubles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfacePartnerOpponentsScore
Winner1980 Wimbledon Grass Flag of the United States.svg John Austin Flag of Australia (converted).svg Dianne Fromholtz
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Mark Edmondson
4–6, 7–6(8–6), 6–3
Runner-up1981WimbledonGrass Flag of the United States.svg John Austin Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve
Flag of South Africa (1928-1994).svg Frew McMillan
4–6, 7–6(7–2), 6–3

Year-End Championships finals

Singles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)

OutcomeYearChampionshipSurfaceOpponentScore
Runner-up 1979 New York CityCarpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova 6–3, 3–6, 6–2
Winner 1980 New York CityCarpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 2–6, 6–2

WTA career finals

Singles: 44 (30–14)

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (2–0)
WTA Tour Championships (1–1)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (27–13)
Titles by surface
Hard (11–3)
Grass (2–0)
Clay (3–2)
Carpet (14–9)
ResultNo.DateTournamentSurfaceOpponentScore
Win1.January 10, 1977 Portland Hard (i) Flag of the United States.svg Stacy Margolin 6–7, 6–3, 4–1 ret.
Loss1.March 6, 1978 Dallas Carpet (i) Flag of Australia (converted).svg Evonne Goolagong Cawley 4–6, 6–0, 6–2
Loss2.October 2, 1978 Phoenix Hard Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova 6–4, 6–2
Win2.October 23, 1978 Filderstadt Carpet (i) Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve 6–3, 6–3
Win3.November 21, 1978 Tokyo Hard (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova 6–1, 6–1
Win4.January 1, 1979 Washington Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–3, 6–2
Loss3.January 29, 1979 Chicago Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–3, 6–4
Loss4.March 21, 1979 Avon Championships Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–3, 3–6, 6–2
Win5.April 10, 1979 Hilton Head Island Clay Flag of Australia (converted).svg Kerry Melville Reid 7–6(7–3), 7–6(9–7)
Win6.May 7, 1979 Rome Clay Flag of Germany.svg Sylvia Hanika 6–4, 1–6, 6–3
Win7.July 30, 1979 San Diego Hard Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–4, 6–2
Loss5.August 20, 1979 Mahwah Hard Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert-Lloyd 6–7(2–7), 6–4, 6–1
Win8.August 28, 1979 US Open Hard Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert-Lloyd6–4, 6–3
Win9.November 5, 1979 Filderstadt Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 6–0
Win10.December 15, 1979 Tokyo Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 6–1
Loss6.January 2, 1980 Landover Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 6–1
Win11.January 7, 1980 Cincinnati Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert-Lloyd6–2, 6–1
Win12.January 28, 1980 Seattle Carpet (i) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Virginia Wade 6–2, 7–6
Loss7.February 4, 1980 Los Angeles Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 6–0
Win13.March 10, 1980 Boston Carpet (i) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Virginia Wade6–2, 6–1
Win14.March 17, 1980Avon ChampionshipsCarpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 2–6, 6–2
Win15.March 29, 1980 Carlsbad Hard Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova7–5, 6–2
Win16.April 7, 1980 Hilton Head Island Clay Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Regina Maršíková 3–6, 6–1, 6–0
Loss8.April 29, 1980 Orlando Clay Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–2, 6–4
Win17.June 16, 1980 Eastbourne Grass Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wendy Turnbull 7–6, 6–2
Win18.July 28, 1980San DiegoHard Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wendy Turnbull6–1, 6–3
Win19.September 29, 1980 Minneapolis Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–1, 2–6, 6–2
Win20.November 3, 1980 Filderstadt Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Sherry Acker 6–2, 7–5
Loss9.November 10, 1980 Tampa Hard Flag of the United States.svg Andrea Jaeger w/o
Loss10.November 22, 1980 Tokyo Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–4, 6–3
Win21.December 15, 1980 Tucson Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Peanut Louie 6–2, 6–0
Win22.January 7, 1981 Landover Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Andrea Jaeger 6–2, 6–2
Win23.June 15, 1981EastbourneGrass Flag of the United States.svg Andrea Jaeger6–3, 6–4
Win24.July 27, 1981San DiegoHard Flag of the United States.svg Pam Shriver 6–2, 5–7, 6–2
Win25.August 17, 1981 Toronto Hard Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert-Lloyd6–1, 6–4
Win26.September 1, 1981 US Open Hard Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova1–6, 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–1)
Win27.September 21, 1981 Atlanta Hard Flag of the United States.svg Mary-Lou Piatek 4–6, 6–3, 6–3
Loss11.September 28, 1981 Minneapolis Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–0, 6–2
Win28.October 26, 1981FilderstadtCarpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova4–6, 6–3, 6–4
Win29.December 14, 1981 East Rutherford Carpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova2–6, 6–4, 6–2
Win30.July 26, 1982San DiegoHard Flag of the United States.svg Kathy Rinaldi 7–6, 6–3
Loss12.October 18, 1982FilderstadtCarpet (i) Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova6–3, 6–3
Loss13.December 6, 1982 Richmond Carpet (i) Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wendy Turnbull6–7(3–7), 6–2, 6–4
Loss14.April 4, 1983Hilton Head IslandClay Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova5–7, 6–1, 6–0

Doubles: 7 (5–2)

Winner — Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (5–2)
Titles by Surface
Hard (3–1)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (0–0)
Carpet (2–1)
ResultNo.DateTournamentSurfacePartnerOpponentsScore
Win1.October 2, 1978 Phoenix Hard Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova
Flag of the United States.svg Anne Smith
6–4, 6–7, 6–2
Win2.October 23, 1978 Filderstadt Carpet (i) Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Mima Jaušovec
Flag of Romania (1965-1989).svg Virginia Ruzici
6–3, 6–2
Loss1.November 21, 1978 Tokyo Hard (i) Flag of the United States.svg Kathy May Flag of the United States.svg Martina Navratilova
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve
6–4, 6–7, 3–6
Loss2.January 8, 1979 Oakland Carpet (i) Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve Flag of the United States.svg Rosie Casals
Flag of the United States.svg Chris Evert
6–3, 4–6, 3–6
Win3.January 22, 1979 Hollywood Carpet (i) Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve Flag of the United States.svg Rosie Casals
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wendy Turnbull
6–2, 2–6, 6–2
Win4.August 20, 1979 Mahwah Hard Flag of the Netherlands.svg Betty Stöve Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Mima Jaušovec
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Regina Maršíková
7–6, 2–6, 6–4
Win5.July 28, 1980 San Diego Hard Flag of the United States.svg Ann Kiyomura Flag of the United States.svg Rosie Casals
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Wendy Turnbull
3–6, 6–4, 6–3

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline

Key
W F SFQF#RRRQ#ANH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament19771978197919801981198219831984–
1993
1994Career SR
Australian Open AAAAA QF AAA 2R 0 / 2
French Open AAAAA QF QF A 1R 0 / 3
Wimbledon 3R 4R SF SF QF QF AAA0 / 6
US Open QF QF W SF W QF AAA2 / 6
SR0 / 20 / 21 / 20 / 21 / 30 / 30 / 10 / 00 / 22 / 17
Year End Ranking12632249NR

SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.

Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Tracy Austin - Overview". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Tracy Austin - Rankings History". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. "Tracy Austin now a pro". The Montreal Gazette. Reuters. October 20, 1978. p. 21 via Google News Archive.
  4. Jack Ellison (October 20, 1978). "Tracy Austin plans to play at East Lake". St. Petersburg Times . p. 3C via Google News Archive.
  5. John Dolan (2011). Women's Tennis 1968–84: the Ultimate Guide. Remous. pp. 292, 307.
  6. 1 2 Statistics. "Tracy Austin". International Tennis Federation. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  7. "Grand Slam ended career". www.adelaidenow.com.au. December 6, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova
World No. 1
April 7, 1980 – April 20, 1980
July 1, 1980 – November 17, 1980
Succeeded by
Martina Navratilova
Chris Evert
Awards
Preceded by
No award
WTA Newcomer of the Year
1977
Succeeded by
Pam Shriver