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Quotes on Tracy

These days Tracy Austin is a well-known tennis commentator. What have others said about her, and she said about herself?

Published September 10, 2010 12:00

Quotes on Tracy
Since retiring, Austin has found new fans as an astute tennis commentator. Here she is at Wimbledon in 1996.

"I think many young players have learned and benefitted from what happened to me, but they have also been hurt by the fact that I won the US Open at sixteen. I think I started a belief that one could win the US Open at sixteen… But I don't think I regret too many things, because that's the way it was and you take it for what it is. You can't change things. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing Chris for the first time on Centre Court when I was fourteen. I look back now, I was such a little girl. I weighed eight-nine pounds; I was about four feet eleven."
- Tracy Austin, in Billie Jean King's We Have Come a Long Way, 1988

"When I first saw Tracy, I wasn't that gung ho. She was so little. I could see potential, but I wouldn't have said, 'Oh, Mrs. Austin, she is going to be the greatest.' It is a long process to become a champion, but gradually I saw her greatness. She learned quickly and accepted criticism. She can tell you what she did wrong without asking. I work her very hard, sometimes to the point where she wonders why. But the day after a hard session she comes back and works even harder and will be disappointed if I don't push her even harder. I'm not sure whether it is because she wants to be the best or wants to please me."
- Long-time coach Robert Lansdorp, quoted in Austin's Beyond Center Court, from a 1976 Los Angeles Times interview

"Tracy was always competitive. She could focus in and concentrate at a very young age. She always wanted to win. In card games, she could memorize the cards when she was four or five years old. If she knew she had to go on a trip, she would sit down and crank out three weeks worth of homework. I think those are the qualities that allowed her to do what she did at so young an age."
- Jeff Austin, Tracy's brother, We Have Come a Long Way

"Of all my losses to Tracy, the 1979 US Open was the worst, because, honestly, that was the first time I doubted myself and whether I could ever beat her. I thought Tracy would dominate the next ten years. I thought she was that good."
- Chris Evert, quoted in Johnette Howard's The Rivals

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