Austin, Tracy (1962—)

views updated

Austin, Tracy (1962—)

American tennis player. Born in 1962; grew up in Rolling Hills, California. Won 25 U.S. national junior titles; won two U.S. Open championships (1979, 1981); the Italian Open (1979); with her brother John, mixed doubles at Wimbledon (1980); married Scott Holt (a mortgage broker); children: Dylan Matthew Holt (b. 1996).

In 1977, at 4'11" with braces and ponytail, weighing 89 pounds, 14-year-old Tracy Austin was the youngest player in 70 years to ever compete at Forest Hills; that same year, she also unsuccessfully faced Chris Evert on Centre Court at Wimbledon. In 1979, 16-year-old Austin was the youngest player to win the women's singles title in the history of the U.S. Open, beating a 24-year-old Evert. For three months in 1980, Austin was ranked number one in the world, having beaten all the top players. The following year, she employed her relentless baseline game to defeat Martina Navratilova and once again take the U.S. Open title.

But chronic sciatic-nerve problems effectively ended Austin's career by 1982, though she returned to play mixed doubles in 1984. Austin told Billie Jean King : "The press kept harping on how little I was in my pinafores and my pigtails. They said my mom tried to make me look like a little girl. But I was a little girl. I didn't mature quickly, physically or emotionally. Some of these girls at fourteen wear makeup, are five feet eight, and have developed physically. That didn't happen to me." Austin felt that her early wins were a disservice to subsequent young players, putting incredible pressure on them to follow her lead. "I never expected to win the U.S. Open at sixteen…. There wasn't any pressure, it just happened." Tracy Austin was the youngest player ever inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.


King, Billie Jean. We Have Come a Long Way. McGraw-Hill, 1988.

About this article

Austin, Tracy (1962—)

Updated About content Print Article