Tracy Austin

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Tracy Austin
Austin 2009 US Open 02.jpg
Country (sports)United States
ResidenceRolling Hills, California, US
Born (1962-12-12) December 12, 1962 (age 58)
Palos Verdes Peninsula, California, US[1]
Height5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Turned proOctober 23, 1978
RetiredJuly 1994
PlaysRight-handed[1]
(two-handed backhand)
CoachPancho Segura, Robert Lansdorp, Vic Braden
Prize moneyUS$2,092,380[2]
Int. Tennis HoF1992 (member page)
Singles
Career record335–90 (78.82%)[2]
Career titles30[2]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (April 7, 1980)[3]
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian OpenQF (1981)
French OpenQF (1982, 1983)
WimbledonSF (1979, 1980)
US OpenW (1979, 1981)
Other tournaments
Tour FinalsW (1980)
Doubles
Career record13–16[2]
Career titles5[2]
Highest rankingNo. 41 (August 14, 1989)[3]
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon3R (1977)
US OpenQF (1978, 1979)
Mixed doubles
Career record15–6
Career titles1
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
WimbledonW (1980)
US OpenSF (1988)
Team competitions
Fed CupW (1978, 1979, 1980)
Wightman CupW (1979, 1981)

Tracy Ann Austin Holt (born December 12, 1962) is an American former world No. 1 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 1980 Wimbledon Championships. 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. She is the youngest US Open female singles champion in history and is the youngest inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in history at age 29. Austin won 30 singles titles during her career, on all playing surfaces: clay (both red and green), indoor carpet, grass, and hard courts.

Playing style[edit]

Austin possessed a solid baseline game, with a strong flat-hit forehand and reliable two-handed backhand.[4][5] Her favorite shot was the backhand down the line and she considered her backhand to be more powerful and accurate than her forehand.[4] She had excellent court coverage and struck the ball deep, with substantial pace, and with pinpoint accuracy.[6][5] 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.

Career[edit]

1977 to 1980[edit]

In January 1977 she won her first professional singles title, defeating Stacy Margolin at the Avon Futures event in Portland.[7][8] As an amateur she could not accept the prize money.[9][7] At her Wimbledon debut in 1977 she reached the third round where she lost to top-seeded Chris Evert. In September that year she made her US Open debut at the age of 14 and reached the quarterfinal before losing to fifth-seeded Betty Stöve.[10]

Austin turned professional in October 1978.[11] 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.[12][13] She followed up with tournament wins in Tokyo and Washington, defeating Martina Navratilova in both finals.[14]

Austin defeated 35-year-old Billie Jean King in the quarterfinals of the 1979 Wimbledon Championships, then lost 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 second-seeded Navratilova in the semifinals and first-seeded Chris Evert in the final.[5][10] Evert had been attempting to win the title for the fifth consecutive year.[10] Earlier that year, Austin ended Evert's 125-match winning streak on clay by beating her in three sets in a semifinal of the Italian Open.[15][5] The Associated Press named Austin its Female Athlete of the Year for 1979.[16]

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. Austin was ranked the world No. 1 singles player in 1980 for two weeks (April 7–20) and then for 19 weeks (July 7-November 17), partly because she captured the two 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 to win a Grand Slam title together.[1]

1981 to 1983[edit]

During the first four months of 1981, Austin played only two events because of chronic injuries. On grass, she defended her singles title at the Eastbourne International in the United Kingdom in June without losing a set. After Wimbledon, Austin won 26 consecutive matches and four consecutive tournaments.[5] She defeated Pam 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 a three-set 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, then Austin defeated Evert in their semifinal. Austin won the tournament with a three-set defeat of Navratilova.[17] The Associated Press named Austin its 1981 Female Athlete of the Year for the second time.[18]

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 defeated 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.

1984 to 1989[edit]

Austin played sporadically from 1984 to 1987 and tried yet another 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.[19] This comeback was ended by a near-fatal motor vehicle accident in Millburn, New Jersey on August 3, 1989.[20]

1992 to 1994[edit]

In 1992, Austin became the youngest person to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame, at the age of 29.[1] She attempted a second comeback in 1993 and 1994 but was not particularly successful. In 1993, Austin upset Rennae Stubbs and Katerina Maleeva at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, then lost to Stephanie Rottier. At the WTA Manhattan Beach event, she upset Gigi Fernández and Elena Likhovtseva, then lost to Gabriela Sabatini in the round of 16. Her wins over Maleeva, Fernandez, and Likhovtseva began a buzz that Austin might become at least a top 20 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 to Steffi Graf, and Austin soon retired in June 1994.[21]

Family life and work as a tennis commentator[edit]

Austin's older sister Pam and her brothers Jeff, Doug and John were 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, which broadcast the Australian Open and usually participates in the BBC's Wimbledon coverage. She began working for the Tennis Channel in 2010 and joined its US Open team and later its Australian Open team in 2012. Austin has worked for Canadian television for its 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 ghostwritten memoir Beyond Center Court, lacerating the work for using generic, bland clichés of sports autobiographies to hide the genuinely compelling and tragic story of Austin's career.

Major finals[edit]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 2 (2 titles)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Win 1979 US Open Hard United States Chris Evert 6–4, 6–3
Win 1981 US Open Hard United States Martina Navratilova 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–1)

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

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1980 Wimbledon Grass United States John Austin Australia Dianne Fromholtz
Australia Mark Edmondson
4–6, 7–6(8–6), 6–3
Loss 1981 Wimbledon Grass United States John Austin Netherlands Betty Stöve
South Africa Frew McMillan
6–4, 6–7(2–7), 3–6

Year-End Championships finals[edit]

Singles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner–up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1979 New York City Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 3–6, 6–3, 2–6
Win 1980 New York City Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–2, 2–6, 6–2

WTA career finals[edit]

Singles: 44 (30–14)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (2–0)
WTA Tour Championships (1–1)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (27–13)
Finals by surface
Hard (11–3)
Grass (2–0)
Clay (3–2)
Carpet (14–9)
Result W/L Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Win 1–0 Jan 1977 Portland, US Hard (i) United States Stacy Margolin 6–7, 6–3, 4–1 ret.
Loss 1–1 Mar 1978 Dallas, US Carpet (i) Australia Evonne Goolagong Cawley 6–4, 0–6, 2–6
Loss 1–2 Oct 1978 Phoenix, US Hard United States Martina Navratilova 4–6, 2–6
Win 2–2 Oct 1978 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) Netherlands Betty Stöve 6–3, 6–3
Win 3–2 Nov 1978 Tokyo, Japan Hard (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–1, 6–1
Win 4–2 Jan 1979 Washington, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–3, 6–2
Loss 4–3 Jan 1979 Chicago, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 3–6, 4–6
Loss 4–4 Mar 1979 Avon Championships, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 3–6, 6–3, 2–6
Win 5–4 Apr 1979 Hilton Head Island, US Clay Australia Kerry Melville Reid 7–6(7–3), 7–6(9–7)
Win 6–4 May 1979 Rome, Italy Clay West Germany Sylvia Hanika 6–4, 1–6, 6–3
Win 7–4 Jul 1979 San Diego, US Hard United States Martina Navratilova 6–4, 6–2
Loss 7–5 Aug 1979 Mahwah, US Hard United States Chris Evert-Lloyd 7–6(7–2), 4–6, 1–6
Win 8–5 Aug 1979 US Open Hard United States Chris Evert-Lloyd 6–4, 6–3
Win 9–5 Nov 1979 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–2, 6–0
Win 10–5 Dec 1979 Tokyo, Japan Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–2, 6–1
Loss 10–6 Jan 1980 Landover, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 2–6, 1–6
Win 11–6 Jan 1980 Cincinnati, US Carpet (i) United States Chris Evert-Lloyd 6–2, 6–1
Win 12–6 Jan 1980 Seattle, US Carpet (i) United Kingdom Virginia Wade 6–2, 7–6
Loss 12–7 Feb 1980 Los Angeles, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 2–6, 0–6
Win 13v7 Mar 1980 Boston, US Carpet (i) United Kingdom Virginia Wade 6–2, 6–1
Win 14v7 Mar 1980 Avon Championships, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–2, 2–6, 6–2
Win 15–7 Mar 1980 Carlsbad, US Hard United States Martina Navratilova 7–5, 6–2
Win 16–7 Apr 1980 Hilton Head Island, US Clay Czechoslovakia Regina Maršíková 3–6, 6–1, 6–0
Loss 16–8 Apr 1980 Orlando, US Clay United States Martina Navratilova 2–6, 4–6
Win 17–8 Jun 1980 Eastbourne, UK Grass Australia Wendy Turnbull 7–6, 6–2
Win 18–8 Jul 1980 San Diego, US Hard Australia Wendy Turnbull 6–1, 6–3
Win 19–8 Sep 1980 Minneapolis, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 6–1, 2–6, 6–2
Win 20–8 Nov 1980 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) United States Sherry Acker 6–2, 7–5
Loss 20–9 Nov 1980 Tampa, US Hard United States Andrea Jaeger w/o
Loss 20–10 Nov 1980 Tokyo, Japan Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 4–6, 3–6
Win 21–10 Dec 1980 Tucson, US Carpet (i) United States Peanut Louie 6–2, 6–0
Win 22–10 Jan 1981 Landover, US Carpet (i) United States Andrea Jaeger 6–2, 6–2
Win 23–10 Jun 1981 Eastbourne, UK Grass United States Andrea Jaeger 6–3, 6–4
Win 24–10 Jul 1981 San Diego, US Hard United States Pam Shriver 6–2, 5–7, 6–2
Win 25–10 Aug 1981 Toronto, Canada Hard United States Chris Evert-Lloyd 6–1, 6–4
Win 26–10 Sep 1981 US Open Hard United States Martina Navratilova 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 7–6(7–1)
Win 27–10 Sep 1981 Atlanta, US Hard United States Mary-Lou Piatek 4–6, 6–3, 6–3
Loss 27–11 Sep 1981 Minneapolis, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 0–6, 2–6
Win 28–11 Oct 1981 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 4–6, 6–3, 6–4
Win 29–11 Dec 1981 East Rutherford, US Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 2–6, 6–4, 6–2
Win 30–11 Jul 1982 San Diego, US Hard United States Kathy Rinaldi 7–6, 6–3
Loss 30–12 Oct 1982 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) United States Martina Navratilova 3–6, 3–6
Loss 30–13 Dec 1982 Richmond, US Carpet (i) Australia Wendy Turnbull 7–6(7–3), 2–6, 4–6
Loss 30–14 Apr 1983 Hilton Head Island, US Clay United States Martina Navratilova 7–5, 1–6, 0–6

Doubles: 7 (5–2)[edit]

Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Tour Championships (0–0)
Virginia Slims, Avon, Other (5–2)
Finals by surface
Hard (3–1)
Grass (0–0)
Clay (0–0)
Carpet (2–1)
Result W/L Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 1–0 Oct 1978 Phoenix, US Hard Netherlands Betty Stöve United States Martina Navratilova
United States Anne Smith
6–4, 6–7, 6–2
Win 2–0 Oct 1978 Filderstadt, West Germany Carpet (i) Netherlands Betty Stöve Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Mima Jaušovec
Romania Virginia Ruzici
6–3, 6–2
Loss 2–1 Nov 1978 Tokyo, Japan Hard (i) United States Kathy May United States Martina Navratilova
Netherlands Betty Stöve
6–4, 6–7, 3–6
Loss 2–2 Jan 1979 Oakland, US Carpet (i) Netherlands Betty Stöve United States Rosie Casals
United States Chris Evert
6–3, 4–6, 3–6
Win 3–2 Jan 1979 Hollywood, US Carpet (i) Netherlands Betty Stöve United States Rosie Casals
Australia Wendy Turnbull
6–2, 2–6, 6–2
Win 4–2 Aug 1979 Mahwah, US Hard Netherlands Betty Stöve Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Mima Jaušovec
Czechoslovakia Regina Maršíková
7–6, 2–6, 6–4
Win 5–2 Jul 1980 San Diego, US Hard United States Ann Kiyomura United States Rosie Casals
Australia Wendy Turnbull
3–6, 6–4, 6–3

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
Tournament 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984–
1993
1994 Career SR
Australian Open A A A A A QF A A A 2R 0 / 2
French Open A A A A A QF QF A 1R 0 / 3
Wimbledon 3R 4R SF SF QF QF A A A 0 / 6
US Open QF QF W SF W QF A A A 2 / 6
SR 0 / 2 0 / 2 1 / 2 0 / 2 1 / 3 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 0 0 / 2 2 / 17
Year End Ranking 12 6 3 2 2 4 9 NR

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Hall of Famers – Tracy Austin". International Tennis Hall of Fame.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Tracy Austin - Overview". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Tracy Austin - Rankings History". Women's Tennis Association. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Tracy Austin (June 27, 2009). "Hitting from the baseline". The Guardian.
  5. ^ a b c d e Steve Tignor (February 7, 2018). "The 50 greatest players of the Open Era (W): No. 18, Tracy Austin". Tennis.com.
  6. ^ John Barrett, ed. (2000). International Tennis Federation World of Tennis 2000. London: CollinsWillow. p. 393. ISBN 9780002189460.
  7. ^ a b John Barrett, ed. (1978). World of Tennis 1978 : a BP yearbook. London: Macdonald and Janes. pp. 184, 305. ISBN 9780354090391.
  8. ^ Collins, Bud (2016). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (3rd ed.). New York: New Chapter Press. p. 579. ISBN 978-1-937559-38-0.
  9. ^ "Tracy Austin beats Margolis". The Los Angeles Times. January 17, 1977. p. 2 (part III) – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ a b c Steve Flink (June 29, 2021). "That Championship Season: Tracy Austin, 1979". US Open.
  11. ^ "Tracy Austin now a pro". The Montreal Gazette. Reuters. October 20, 1978. p. 21 – via Google News Archive.
  12. ^ Jack Ellison (October 20, 1978). "Tracy Austin plans to play at East Lake". St. Petersburg Times. p. 3C – via Google News Archive.
  13. ^ John Dolan (2011). Women's Tennis 1968–84: the Ultimate Guide. Remous. pp. 292, 307.
  14. ^ Alexandre Sokolovski. "January 7, 1979: The day Tracy Austin beat Martina Navratilova to win the Avon Championships". Tennis Majors.
  15. ^ Courtney Nguyen (May 12, 2020). "WTA moments: Austin snaps Evert's streak in Rome". Women's Tennis Association (WTA).
  16. ^ Woolum, Janet (1998). Outstanding Women Ahletes (2nd ed.). Phoenix: Oryx Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 978-1573561204.
  17. ^ Frank Deford (December 28, 1981). "She Won, But Is She No. 1?". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 55 no. 27. pp. 28–31.
  18. ^ Ron Rosen (January 14, 1982). "Fanfare '81 Austin's, Tennis' Year". Washington Post.
  19. ^ Statistics. "Tracy Austin". International Tennis Federation. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
  20. ^ Jesper Fjeldstad (December 6, 2013). "Grand Slam ended Tracy Austin's career". The Advertiser.
  21. ^ Statistics. "Tracy Austin". International Tennis Federation. Retrieved March 9, 2013.

External links[edit]

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