View Full Version : The Tracy "AWESOME" Austin Thread

Robert German
Apr 9th, 2002, 11:14 PM
Who knows how many more slams Tracy could have won if injury had not interfered.

For her first US Crown she killed Evert.

For her second US Crown she came from behind to defeat Navratilova.

Her Wimbledon mixed doubles Crown was amazing considering she played with her much less talented brother.

Why won't ESPN replace Pam Shriver and put Tracy on?

Apr 10th, 2002, 10:27 AM
I was very young when Tracy was winning those US titles and in those days UK tv only showed Wimbledon and Eastbourne so we never really got to see Tracy at her best. I know she really concerned Martina and Chris, though it was probably Chris who felt more unde ssiege due to the similarities in their game. Are there any heyday Tracy videos floating around out there? I feel like watching a bit of nostalgia.

Apr 10th, 2002, 02:46 PM
While I prefer Pam over Tracy as a commentator, I'm glad she's finally got her own thread.
She was a little killer in pigtails-no doubt about it:)I'm convinced a healthy Tracy may well have challenged for the top-certainly she would have cost Chris and Martina some slams. Like a lot of "what-if's" in tennis, we'll never know, but it makes a fun debate!

There are lots of funny Austin stories floating around-especially some of the ones concerning Pam!

Dr. Appleby
May 2nd, 2002, 02:10 AM
that they always misprint the winners of the year end championships saying that Navratilova won in 1981. It was Austin who won the 1981 Toyota Championships as they were called that year. Austin defeated Navratilova in 3 sets as she had at the US Open. Austin also won the 1980 year end event over Jaeger.:wavey:

May 7th, 2002, 01:40 AM
Despite her injuries, Tracy Austin is still one of the all time greatest and one of my three all time favorites. I loved her and she is my favorite tv commentator!


May 9th, 2002, 02:32 PM
I read all over this board the respect people have for Tracy Austin. And this is even taking into accopunt that there are a number of players who have won more slams than her. But the fact that for a period of time she dominated the game over some genuine champs in Martina and Chris (she outplayed them not overtaken them thru injuries or anything) indicates a special player. Her end-of-year champs wins are also very notable when during the late 70's they were probably held in higher regard than the Aus Open.
The likes of Hana, Arantxa won more slams but thinking beyond the numbers game, Tracy reached number one thru domination not thru injuries and had the players around her initimidated.

I wonder what you guys think.... does the things I mention above mean anything when determining whose better than who.... or is the grand slam numbers game simpler and a more effective reasoning?????

May 9th, 2002, 05:01 PM
That's a tough question Louloubelle!
While I also feel Tracy was a genuine threat to Martina and Chris to be #1(me and Zummi had a running debate on that;) , I'd still have to rate Hana and Sanchez a step higher. In my heart I know she was "better" than those two, but it's so like Mo Connolly or Seles IMO, in that you can't just award them slams they didn't win.

is the grand slam numbers game simpler and a more effective reasoning????? I think it is, if you "weight" the slams. These days the slams are more or less equal, but in Tracy's days we know 2 counted much more, Wimbledon and the US Open. So if I take your argument and give the year-end events near slam status (say, half a slam) , Tracy gets close to the 4 slams because she won 3 series finales(79 Avon and the
1980-81 Colgate). So it all comes down to how important you think those events Tracy won were.

Tracy DID get to #1(unlike Hana), a point in her favor. And of course her head to head vs. the top guns is much more impressive than Mandlikova or Sanchez.

It's debatable either way:cool: I'll be interested in what others think.

May 9th, 2002, 05:40 PM
Hi everyone

I'm glad, too, about a n Austin thread!

As to my opinion, some of you already know:
i agree with Rollo about her being the biggest (yes, bigger than Seles) whatif in the history of the game.
We had long debates in here with good Philbo, Jrj, me and Zummi.
(good ol'times, ah?)

I remember when she came around we all felt she was going to be the new sensation.
Nobody doubted she was overcoming Navratilova and Evert.

As for game quality, i'll always prefer Navra, but that's another story.
She was a SteffiGraf in embryo, in my opinion.

and yes, she could have gotten up to ten slams.

It's interesting also what DisposableHero said once, about her possibly being a threat deep down into the eighties/nineties, thus stealing not only to Navra/Evert but also to Graf and even Seles, maybe.
(in 1991 she was 30, wasn's she?)

May 9th, 2002, 07:44 PM
Disposable's take on that was interesting Way. BTW, while Tracy is a big "what if" I'm not sure I'd say she was the biggest question mark ;)

Tracy and Seles shared one thing in common-problems on grass!
Had Austin stayed healthy Wimbledon would have always been a test. I've read early reports that say she could volley better than Evert, but I don't remember her coming in as much as Chris. Besides, Tracy had a horrible serve. Pam Shriver couldn't touch Austin on other surfaces, but torpedoed Tracumms twice on grass
in 1981 at majors. I don't see Austin getting Martina on grass unless her serve got better or Martina was off.

Hard courts were a different matter. She proved herself there, and on hard courts Martina and Chris were both at a disadvantage.

The real question mark would be the French. Tracy WAS a baseliner, and did end Evert's clay streak, but as a Californian
she liked hard courts better.

BTW- Tracy was never a fav of mine when she played, but she got very pretty aftter she lost those ugly braces and pinafore dresses. For some reason I found those pom-pom cherrleader socks she wore sexy!:)

May 9th, 2002, 09:40 PM
I would definitely place Tracy ahead of Aranxa and Hana. The only reason she never won the French is because she didn't play there (or not until much later in her career)

It's a shame what happened to Tracy when you think about it. Her career was pretty much over at 20. Sad. Very sad. :(

May 10th, 2002, 03:27 PM
Yes way too many variables now!!!! I'm, totally confused to make a decision. But the fact that ASV and Hana were proficient on all surfaces (both being Wimbledon finalists) is a big and good point.

Isn't it unthinkable that many years back the players preferred WTT over the French???!!!

May 10th, 2002, 09:43 PM
Dr. Appleby,

No. Martina "DID" win the 1981 season-ending Championships. It was held in March and she beat Jaeger in the final in straights. Austin won the Toyota Championships which was held at the end of the year but that event was discontinued after 1982. The WTA's season-ending championship was moved from March to November in 1986.

May 11th, 2002, 09:21 AM
Appleby and Zummi-both of you are right in a sense:)

The history of "Series" finales is a confused one. First, there was a series finale only for the Virginia Slims from 1971 to 1976. By 1974 it was being promoted as part of a "Triple Crown", with Wimbledon and the US Open.

The problem for the women was that when the Slims circuit started, it was year-round on all surfaces. Starting in 1975, however, it was only indoors and ended in April.

Colgate stepped in to sponser a world-wide tour in 1977. Thus, from 1977 to 1982 the women had TWO "season ending" finales.
As the longer and larger circuit, the Colgate-Toyota finales had a bit more prestiege.

When Toyota pulled out we once again had a unified tour. Since the 1983 "season" was so short, the 83 Slims was an invitational rather than based on qualifying.

As Zummi said, the women switched dates in 1986, when there were 2 Slims finales. That was a good year to change as the Aussie wasn't held that year. The tour as we know it today more or less looks like 1987, except for less US indoor events.

Personally, I think some of these season ending events counted for a lot more than they do today. With 4 slams of near equal importance, the WTA finals just don't mean as much as they did in the 70's and 80's.

Hope I didn't add to any confusion:eek:

May 11th, 2002, 07:01 PM
Dr. Appelby said that Martina being listed as the winner of the 1981 Ch'ships was a misprint. That is quite obviously a bunch of balderdash. The current season-ending Ch'ships is the same tournament as the one Martina won in 1981 so I don't see what the confusion is all about. The Colgate/Toyota Ch'ships took place over a six-year period and have not been on the calendar since 1982.

May 12th, 2002, 02:49 AM
Well, obviously Martina's 81 win wasn't a misprint Zummi, but it's not the same EXACT event as today's year-end finals, simply because the New York event Martina won that year was from points earned only in 11 or so indoor events. The Toyota finals was more prestigious since points were earned from over 30 or 40 events, on all surfaces, including the slams. THAT sounds more like today's Sanex finals.

When Virginia Slims took over again in 1983 it was convenient to make it appear like one uninterrupted event, since the Slims didn't sponsor the others. The truth is more complex.

The Colgate/Toyota finales were big, so big that the players and press considered Evert in 78, Navratilova in 79, and Austin in 81 to be the undisputed #1(as Martina was in 79) or have a claim to
it. Martina conceded the #1 to Tracy after losing the 1981 Toyota final. In other words, she thought if she won she was entitled to the #1 spot. Martina herself considered it to be more important than the Avon event she won early in the year, otherwise she would claimed the top spot based on that.

May 12th, 2002, 04:35 AM
It's not Martina's fault that neither Chris nor Tracy decided to show up for the 1981 Avon series circuit. Fact is, even though the event was held in March, it is the direct precursor of today's season-ending Championship. When you look at the honor rolls, the 1977 - 1982 winners are Chris, Martina, Martina, Tracy, Martina, Hanika. And not the Colgate/Toyota winners. So we need to leave it at that.

May 12th, 2002, 01:14 PM
LOL. What do you mean be "just leave it at that "Zummi? Since when does simplifying tennis history help anyone? Why wipeout important events merely because one source(and I'm not sure which source you're using) wants to make it seem like one continuous event? Interpreting history one way is fine, it sounds as if you want to rewrite it.

Primary sources written at THAT time(in this case 1981) should be considered above revisionism. Yes, it's a shame Austin and Evert missed the 81 Avon season, but even if they hadn't it would have been the lesser of the two series. Martina based her own claim to the top in 1979 on winning in Washington(in early 1980!:eek: ) rather than the Avon months earlier.

I don't know if you were following tennis during those years(1977-82) or not Zummi. They were confusing, with 2 circuits, but exciting!:)

Sorry for going on, but it's "forgetting" things that leads people who come later to change facts-like Adrian turning a major event into an exhibition!:fiery:

May 12th, 2002, 07:21 PM
Who's rewriting history here? All I'm saying is the current Sanex Ch'ships began as the Virginia Slims Ch'ships and later Avon and then Virginia Slims again Ch'ships and it was held in March for an extended period of time. Not to be confused with the Toyota/Colgate Ch'ships. Two separate tournaments. One still lives on. The other died a natural death.

Championship Honor roll:

1977 - Chris
1978 - Martina
1979 - Martina
1980 - Tracy
1981 - Martina

20 years from now - heck, even today - these are the results that will count. No one remembers what the Colgate/Toyota was all about. No one cares.

May 13th, 2002, 12:18 AM
You were ok by me Zummi up to the point where you say "These are the results that count". Some of us DO remember, thank you. Attitudes like yours will help bury Martina's acheivements as well, my friend.

May 13th, 2002, 01:19 AM

It's getting redudant repeating the same thing over and over again. But here goes nothing: the Toyota Ch'ships is not the same event as the Virginia Slims Ch'ships. The former is no longer held, it's dead, it's extinct, does not take place anymore.

The Virginia Slims/Avon Ch'ships lives on as the Sanex Ch'ships today. Those are the results that will count when anyone goes back to look at the tournament history. They're not going to say "Oh, but there was a Colgate tournament too." Was it an important tournament - absolutely. And that's all. It should not be confused with the current Sanex Ch'ships. Two different events.

May 13th, 2002, 12:01 PM
I can remember a round-robin event that was held in Aust during the early 80's where the likes of Evert, Jordan, Pam, Wendy, Bonder, Maleeva, Hanika, Jaegar come down to play. It's funny during that time that it wasn't perceived as an exhibition even tho I don't think it counted towards the rankings. (There was a indoor tournie before or after the round-robin but it didn't attract the very best players). It must have been fairly prestigous to the players that came down because of the distance travelled to Sydney after the US Open!!!
I can remembering the tension when Wendy Turnbull just had to win a set against Evert to reach the final, she was 54 up, and the dismay from the home crowd and commentators when the match ran away from her 75 62.

So that was a very good point Rollo in that we have to be careful using present day knowledge when looking back into past times. What isn't considered great nowadays may have been very important back then. So at this time this round-robin was a so-so event but the players took it seriously. The series both mentioned above were serious back in the 70-80's too. I think most of us scoff at the Wightman Cup but during a time, it was important enough to get the best players to play!!! So that would count too!

Rankings, points tournies, two tours etc.... weren't the only deciding factor back then and that has to be taken into consideration when we look back and try and work out who was the best for a year or even the best ever. Yes, we have to be able to know the era before we can judge on the era.

Beleive me if Wendy had beaten Chris that day, I would've been counting it as a win in their head-to-head matches which read thirty something to one, ranking tournie or not.

May 13th, 2002, 08:55 PM
Who won that event louloubelle? I think that was the event that created controvery here in the US because it was the same week as the US Clay. Didn't Shriver beat Chris one year?

I found some odd bits from Austin's "Beyond Center Court"

On her 1989 car accident which finally destroyed her comeback hopes: "To this day...it's an unbleievable, wrenching thought".
The accident broke her leg.

She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at age 4! Yet Tracy swears she was never raised to be a champ from an early age.

On her coach, Robert Lansdorp: I wanted to kill him every day at practice, and that was exactly how he wanted me to feel." Tracy had a two-handed FOREHAND until Robert put a stop to it.

Won her first ever pro event entered-turning down the prize money.

Says she ate hamburgers before matches!

"I grew up on hard courts while Chris played on clay in Florida,and I think that made me more aggressive".

Joanne Russell accused Tracy of putting on an act of cuteness as a sweet little girl. "Joanne was being nasty because she was losing to me".

Resented being tagged a victim of "burnout". Tracy notes that even Evert and King used it to describe her.

The averge number of shots in her 79 Us Open final with Evert was 25 per point! :eek:

Her biggest tennis regret was not winning the 1980 Wimbledon semi vs. Goolagong. Austin won the middle set 6-0 but lost the match.

Felt her best ever tournament was the 81 Canadian. Sh ehad a famous match with Shriver where 5 of 7 overules went in Tracy's favor. At the end of the match Pam said to her. "You'er a F**king
a**hole, you're a bitch":eek:

One og her nicknames was Tracy Awesome.

Finishing school kept her from competing in th eFrench Open until 1982.

Blames her firs tinjuries on lack of stretching.

'When you look at what's goin gon right now in women's tennis, I ask one favor: Don't blame me. My parents never, ever pushed!
My mom never yelled."

May 14th, 2002, 01:54 PM
Not sure who won that event tho for some reason Shriver beating Evert does ring a bell. Sorry! not sure.
Shriver did win the indoor the week after/prior once over Dianne Balestrat who was making a comeback at the time.

As for Austin unfortunately we never really saw the best of her in Oz, I can remember that even 1981/2?? when she lost early in the Open warmup in Sydney to Ros Fairbank things were looking at bit gloomy and the strain of it all was showing. Saw glimpses of her when she cameback in the 90's but her game just seemed so stiff compared to previous years.

May 30th, 2002, 05:28 AM
1979 Us Open

The pipsquek in ponytails comes of age.....


May 30th, 2002, 11:09 PM
Did you post from your hard drive, Rollo?
Or did you find those pics in the net?

May 31st, 2002, 01:36 AM
Found them on the net Way:)

Robert German
May 31st, 2002, 03:56 AM
Let's replace Pam and put Tracy in with Mary Jo.

I believe Pam's comment to Tracy after losing to her at the 1981 Canadian open was "You little b**ch, don't you know you were lucky to win the f***ing match?" Tracy broke down in tears afterwards. That was the report I heard. Does memory serve anyone else differently?

Jun 2nd, 2002, 09:54 AM
No one knows what exactly was said. Pam didn't tell and all Tracy said was that Pam said the "F" word. The girl (i.e. Tracy) was 18 years old at the time. She must have been such a dork.

Jun 2nd, 2002, 06:46 PM
Ok Rollo, i hoped you had found the way!!!

You knew that even from "our" site we cannot load pics in here, 'cos Geocities doesn't allow it?

Ok, we'll change server we things get rolling!!!

Apr 1st, 2005, 12:15 AM
It's been a long time since Tracy's done commentary.

Apr 4th, 2005, 09:50 AM
I didn't miss it. Austin is a terrible commentator IMO.

She played Rome in 1979 and the German Open in 1981, so how can finishing school prevent her from playing the French in those years?

At the Canadian Open 1981 she beat Shriver, Navratilova, and Evert in a row without losing a single set, and I bet, had you asked Tracy before that event what her most satisfactory record would be, it would have been "beating Shriver, Navratilova, and Evert in a row in straight sets". The latter 2 were her main rivals for the no. 1 spot and Shriver was hated by our neat girl in pigtails.

As for Wimbledon: Unlike Seles, Austin didn't improve her serve. And Seles had the best return and the best passingshot in the game, 2 vital weapons on grass, that would have made her a much bigger thread at Wimbledon than Austin would ever have been. Seles was capable of beating anybody on grass.

Back to Austin: IMO she belongs ahead of Mandlikova and Sanchez in the history books, Tracy became a number one player by her own strength.

Aug 18th, 2005, 05:41 PM
BUMP! Just for a little balance........

The last time that I saw Tracy play live on the tour was the 1983 Hilton Head Final. I was 11 years old and had no idea that it would be the last time that I would see her play.

I was lucky enough to see her play WTT when she was with Charlotte. I watched her lose a 6-0 set to Martina in 1993...........10 years after that Hilton Head match.

Aug 18th, 2005, 06:04 PM
AHHHH- someplace to post a few T&A pics!:lol:



May 20th, 2006, 10:52 PM
Just thought I might bring some action back into this thread. :D

I met Tracy at the Rogers Cup last year. If you want the story, you have to ask. :D

May 21st, 2006, 12:09 AM
Do tell all, Geisha!

chris whiteside
May 21st, 2006, 12:17 PM
Who knows how many more slams Tracy could have won if injury had not interfered.

For her first US Crown she killed Evert.

For her second US Crown she came from behind to defeat Navratilova.

Her Wimbledon mixed doubles Crown was amazing considering she played with her much less talented brother.

Why won't ESPN replace Pam Shriver and put Tracy on?

I must admit I don't know a lot in depth about Tracy's years.

I know she was challenging at the very top from 1979 to 1981 but looking at her Slam records she seems to have dropped in form in 1982 losing in quarters of AO, Wimby and US. Admittedly, these defeats were to Mandlikova who at her best could beat any anyone and on grass to BJ whose experience and prowess on this surface made her a tough nut to the end.

Having studied 1983 in Preacherfan's ranking project she had a solid year up to the injury at Eastbourne but hardly worthy of the top 5. So it could be that her best days were past?

Players at the top do sometimes have a slight dip in form e.g. Evert in 1979, Navratilova in 1980. Austin only ever went to Australia once and didn't always play RG so it's hard to tell looking at the Slams if she was out for any lengthy period during 1982.

Was her slight dip in form in 1982 just general or were there any particular reasons for it such as injury etc?

During Wimbledon fortnight the BBC put together a daily Match Of The Day programme on which they have one or two of their ex-playing commentators and Tracy would be on 3 or 4 times. I have to say I have always been very impressed with her analysis and comments when she appeared.

May 21st, 2006, 11:25 PM
Do tell all, Geisha!

OK, so it was at the Rogers Cup this past summer, and I was waiting in the hall to see if I would be able to watch Serena Williams practice. While I was waiting, a girl in white pants and a green shirt walked by and I went to my brother and was like, "Oh my God, is that Tracy?" Without him answering, I screamed, "Tracy!" and she turned around. Nobody around me knew who she was and my heart was racing and she asked me if I was doing well and if I was having fun. She's so cute and nice! :D The day couldn't have gone any better as that was the same day I spoke to Martina Navratilova and watched Serena Williams win a tennis match!

Jun 4th, 2006, 01:22 AM
Who knows how many more slams Tracy could have won if injury had not interfered.

For her first US Crown she killed Evert.

For her second US Crown she came from behind to defeat Navratilova.

Her Wimbledon mixed doubles Crown was amazing considering she played with her much less talented brother.

Why won't ESPN replace Pam Shriver and put Tracy on?

Billie Jean King kept telling Tracy to stretch before matches but she did not listen. Goodness gracious, her dietary habits were at best atrocious as were a lot of players back then. She was a kid and very stubborn to take advice like all teens. Chris Evert was blessed with a great body to play those matches and not really take of her body. Tracy was too small and combination of bad dietary habits got her out like a lot of players then.

Jun 7th, 2006, 10:10 PM
OK, so it was at the Rogers Cup this past summer, and I was waiting in the hall to see if I would be able to watch Serena Williams practice. While I was waiting, a girl in white pants and a green shirt walked by and I went to my brother and was like, "Oh my God, is that Tracy?" Without him answering, I screamed, "Tracy!" and she turned around. Nobody around me knew who she was and my heart was racing and she asked me if I was doing well and if I was having fun. She's so cute and nice! :D The day couldn't have gone any better as that was the same day I spoke to Martina Navratilova and watched Serena Williams win a tennis match!

Thanks for sharing Geisha:) She was nice to me too in 1996 when I saw her on Court Lenglen at the French Open. She was commentating for USA network and was the same down to earth person off camera as on.

Trivfun I got a good laugh out of your spot on comment about Tracy's diet. When she won her first US Open her first trip was to a McDonald's!

Jun 8th, 2006, 04:49 AM
You know what Martina did afterwards, turned up her diet while Tracy remained with hamburgers and beat her 1981 U.S. Open but by 1982, those habits caught up with her. I remember reading about Margaret Court firing her financial manager because he advise her not to eat so much steak.