Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Happy Birthday to Tracy Austin


Here's wishing the Powerhouse in Pinafore a very happy 55th! I almost feel like one of those (millions of) people who says they were at Woodstock or Stonewall when I say I first discovered tennis during the 1977 U.S. Open -- perhaps the most exciting/bizarre Grand Slam event in history -- but I did. World Tennis hailed "A Kid, A Rabbit and A Champion" -- Tracy, Wendy Turnbull and Chris Evert, respectively -- and a muscular Argentinian with outrageous topspin stunned American favorite Jimmy Connors for the men's title. (Plus a fan was "shot" during 18-year-old John McEnroe's match versus Eddie Dibbs -- during the Summer of Sam -- and a 6-1, 43-year-old "transsexual" named Renee Richards won the right to compete in the women's draw.) But it was "The Kid" -- 14-year-old Tracy Ann Austin from Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. -- who captured my 10-year-old imagination, with her pigtails, squeals and powerful groundstrokes. From the second I saw her crush Britain's Sue Barker in the third round I was hooked on the game -- and her. Although injuries cut her already Hall-of-Fame-worthy career short, it's been a joy watching her mature into a mother and skilled commentator. Enjoy your day, Trace!


Dusting off the old garb at the 2014 International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.

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