Tracy Austin's Comeback... - TennisForum.com
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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Tracy Austin's Comeback...

I didn't realize until recently that Ms. Austin tried to come back in the early /mid-1990's. Why wasn't she successful? Was it her injuries that derailed her again, or was she just that far out of the loop for far too long to even hope for a comeback?

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 02:05 AM
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Have you ever seen the 1979 US Open final that she won? It was like watching ping pong in slow motion. The game passed her by. Unfortunately, she had some injuries that forced her out so young.

Last edited by Keith; Sep 6th, 2004 at 08:57 AM.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 02:21 AM
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I think Steffi actually beat her 6-0 6-0 in the early 90's at a summer hardcourt tourney....
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 02:28 AM
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http://www.wtatour.com/players/playe...layer1ID=10060

this is the link to my proof of the above happening in 1994!!
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 08:42 AM
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She could have survived the switch from wood to metal better if she hadn't been loaded down with injuries and a near fatal car accident.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 09:17 AM
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I remember that edition of the Australian Open when Tracy Austin did her comeback... it must have been 1994, I think. I watched her play and what was evident was that despite her solid technique, she wasn't obviously that comfortable with the speed the game had progressed toward. She did manage to win at least a match with a player with a respectable ranking, but she failed to be competitive when faced with an opponent who had enough punch in her shots to send her chasing balls far from the baseline... I think I remember Tracy had another nice run at a tourney (I dare say a smaller one during the summer hardcourt season) then not much more came... and she called it a career again quite soon.

It was very nice, though, to see her back on court with a positive attitude and fighting spirit, and the will to give it a try again, though conditions had changed and all that...

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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The top player that Tracy beat was Sabine Hack of Germany, a former Top 20 player who had been double-bagelled, not once, but twice, by the one and only Senorita Concepcion Martinez Bernat.

Does anyone know what Tracy's highest ranking was when she made her comeback in 1994? I remember that she used a Dunlop racquet, the same model that Steffi Graf used between 1987-1993.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Tracy actually didn't do TOO badly, considering how long she had been away. In her first comeback tournament in Indian Wells, she beat Katerina Maleevan, who was a top 20 player at that time. She then lost to a Belgian, Stephanie Rottier. Then she lost to Rottier again in Miami. Later that year, she reached the 3rd round of Manhattan Beach, beating Gigi Fernandez, a pretty good player.

On a side note, after Steffi's double bageling of Tracy, Tracy talked a lot about how great Steffi was and how much respect she had for Steffi. When Steffi heard about it, she feigned surprise and said something like, "Really? That's not what she said before." That was clearly a reference to what happened in the 80's when Tracy was a top player and Steffi was just a gangly teenager. They played an exhibition in Germany, and Tracy won 6-4,6-0. Afterwards, the German press asked Tracy about Steffi's prospects and Tracy dismissed her by saying, "There are a thousand like her in the States." Well, Steffi obviously remembered the remark all those years later. Steffi tried to take back what she said by saying, "Forget it, I shouldn't have said anything," but it seems fair to say Steffi won't be asking Tracy out to lunch anytime soon.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 03:47 PM
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So maybe Tracy was the one responsible for Steffi's rise to greatness. If she hadn't said that, maybe Steffi wouldn't have had that extra incentive to prove her wrong.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyk75

That was clearly a reference to what happened in the 80's when Tracy was a top player and Steffi was just a gangly teenager. They played an exhibition in Germany, and Tracy won 6-4,6-0. Afterwards, the German press asked Tracy about Steffi's prospects and Tracy dismissed her by saying, "There are a thousand like her in the States." Well, Steffi obviously remembered the remark all those years later. Steffi tried to take back what she said by saying, "Forget it, I shouldn't have said anything," but it seems fair to say Steffi won't be asking Tracy out to lunch anytime soon.
It wasn't an exhibition; it was the Porsche Classic in Stuttgart where Graf made her pro debut in 1982 and had the bad luck to draw Austin, the defending champ, in the first round.

Austin, after defeating Graf, said: "There are hundreds like her back in the States."

Austin's dismissal of Graf in 1982 may not be as bad as it's made out to be because we know that for every Graf or Seles, there are hundreds of prodigies who don't make it big on the pro tour. The interesting thing, however, is that when Graf retired in 1999, Austin pretended she'd never made the remark and actually had the nerve to say "Stuttgart. I was on the other side of the net. Steffi was 13 and about this thin," holding up one finger, "but she was hitting the ball so hard. I wondered, who is this? I beat her, but I knew we'd be hearing from her. ... She had a huge, huge forehand, and she moved like a deer out there."

Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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From the ITF database, These are the full results from her 2 comebacks in 1989 and 1993...




Eastbourne
Great BritainWT13 Jun 1994 to 18 Jun 1994Entry : DAGrass (O)
64L Kristine RADFORD (AUS) 3-6 4-6

French OpenFranceSL23 May 1994 to 05 Jun 1994Entry : DAClay (O)
128L Marketa KOCHTA (GER) 0-6 1-6

European OpenSwitzerlandWT16 May 1994 to 22 May 1994Entry : DAClay (O)
32W Geraldine DONDIT (SUI) 6-4 6-0
16L Lindsay DAVENPORT (USA) 1-6 2-6

Hilton HeadUSAWT28 Mar 1994 to 03 Apr 1994Entry : DAClay (O)
64W Maria-Jose GAIDANO (ARG) 6-1 6-7 6-3
32L Amanda COETZER (RSA) 4-6 5-7


Indian WellsUSAWT21 Feb 1994 to 27 Feb 1994Entry : WCHard (O)
32W Radomira ZRUBAKOVA (SVK) 6-2 5-7 6-3
16L Steffi GRAF (GER) 0-6 0-6

OklahomaUSAWT14 Feb 1994 to 20 Feb 1994Entry : DAHard (O)
32W Monique JAVER (GBR) 1-6 6-0 6-3
16L Zina GARRISON-JACKSON (USA) 1-6 3-6

Australian OpenAustraliaSL17 Jan 1994 to 30 Jan 1994Entry : DAHard (O)
128W Elna REINACH (RSA) 6-1 7-5
64L Sabine HACK (GER) 1-6 7-5 2-6


HobartAustraliaWT10 Jan 1994 to 15 Jan 1994Entry : WCHard (O)
32L Ann GROSSMAN (USA) 4-6 4-6

PhiladelphiaUSAWT08 Nov 1993 to 14 Nov 1993Entry : WCCarpet (O)
32L Ann GROSSMAN (USA) 6-4 1-6 4-6

OaklandUSAWT01 Nov 1993 to 07 Nov 1993Entry : WCCarpet (O)
32W Tatiana IGNATIEVA (BLR) 6-4 3-6 7-5
16L Zina GARRISON-JACKSON (USA) 0-6 2-6

Canadian OpenCanadaWT16 Aug 1993 to 22 Aug 1993Entry : WCHard (O)
64W Audra KELLER (USA) 7-5 6-2
32L Nathalie TAUZIAT (FRA) 4-6 1-6

Manhattan BeachUSAWT09 Aug 1993 to 15 Aug 1993Entry : WCHard (O)
64W Gigi FERNANDEZ (USA) 6-3 6-4
32W Elena LIKHOVTSEVA (KAZ) 4-6 6-3 7-5
16L Gabriela SABATINI (ARG) 1-6 3-6

Key BiscayneUSAWT12 Mar 1993 to 21 Mar 1993Entry : WCHard (O)
128L Stephanie ROTTIER (NED) 3-6 1-6

Indian WellsUSAWT22 Feb 1993 to 28 Feb 1993Entry : WCHard (O)
64W Rennae STUBBS (AUS) 7-5 6-4
32W Katerina MALEEVA (BUL) 6-2 2-6 6-3
16L Stephanie ROTTIER (NED) 1-6 0-6

TampaUSAWT17 Apr 1989 to 23 Apr 1989Entry : DAClay (O)
32L Halle CIOFFI (USA) 4-6 3-6

Indian WellsUSAWT06 Mar 1989 to 12 Mar 1989Entry : DAHard (O)
32L Nicole PROVIS (AUS) 5-7 7-5 1-6

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Last edited by JonBcn; Sep 6th, 2004 at 04:06 PM.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old Sep 6th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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She actually started playing doubles in 88 and reached the semis of the mixed at the US Open in 88. That comeback was halted by a car-crash resulting in serious injury and by the time she came back in 93, she was 30 and well past her sell-by date. I think her highest ranking was around #60 somepoint early in 94 and maybe she could have made it into the top 50 had she played all year and picked her tournaments carefully. I think she was demoralised and frustrated by her failure to progress more quickly and the heavy defeats she was incurring. It must have been tough for someone who spent her whole early career in the top 10. I wish she'd stuck at it a bit longer, though.

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