Exclusive Q&A: Tennis legend Tracy Austin
Tracy Austin, a former World No. 1 professional tennis player, captured three Grand Slam titles, winning the women's singles title at the US Open in 1979 and 1981 and the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon in 1980.
She won the WTA Tour Championships in 1980 and the 1981 year end Toyota Championships, both in singles, before a series of injuries cut her career short.
We sat down briefly with the legend, who is in New York for the US Open and promoting KT Tape, to chat about this week's matches.
Q: You won three grand slam titles. How would you fare against Serena?
A: It is so hard to compare champions from different eras. I would have loved the challenge, but Serena is not done yet and I think she will probably go down in history as the greatest tennis player of all time.
Q: How much did it help that your entire family was so involved in tennis?
A: It was a huge help as my mother worked at a tennis club six days a week and all five kids were there all day and it was great exposure to the game. I found a passion for tennis early on. It also helped that my brothers and sister played on the tour before me and helped inspire me.
Q: Was the transition to being a commentator challenging?
A: One of my strengths as a player was strategy and how you have to adjust to different situations based on who you are playing and what the score is. As a commentator I get to use that strength in the broadcast booth in analyzing other people's games so it was actually a pretty smooth transition.
Q: What is your best memory?
A: Winning my second US Open title is a great memory as I was coming back from injury, and any time you can overcome obstacles it makes the achievement extra special. Also winning mixed doubles at Wimbledon with my brother was a great personal memory, to share that with a family member and with my whole family.
Q: Who were your role models?
A: Billie Jean is one of my role models for everything she represents and stands for. She was a champion on and off the court. It was really strange to beat an idol so I really had to focus on the ball and every point instead of who i was playing. I also admired Evonne Goolagong for her gracefulness on the court.
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