Tracy Austin is a Legend On and Off the Court

When representatives from Citi Taste of Tennis approached me to interview tennis legend Tracy Austin, I excitedly agreed. I remember watching teenage Austin on television consistently winning tennis tournaments. Taking a phone call, she warned me that she had only a few minutes before picking her husband Scott Holt at the airport.

She shared in our interview that the key to her success was her mental game. This three-time Grand Slam winner, and former world #1 tennis player earned the women’s singles titles twice at the age of 16 and 18. “My serve wasn’t the best, but I had a mental toughness,” she said. “Life was busy for me, I was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1979, as the youngest Open winner. When you are a champion, there are a lot of demands on your life. There is more pressure and expectations.”

Austin started playing tennis at a very young age, while her mother worked at Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates. “I was the youngest of five kids and picked up a racquet early,” said Austin. Other tennis champions who played at this local So Cal Tennis Club included tennis greats Pete Sampras and Lindsay Davenport.

She shared that she owes her success to her mom. “My mom helped me become a champion. She would drive me to tournaments and offered encouragment.”

Even though her championship career was derailed at the age of 25 from a horrible car accident, she said, “It changed my life perspective.” She became a tennis commentator and a mother to three boys. “I’ve had three careers – tennis professional, tennis commentator and a mother.”

When asked what advice she gives to people looking to take up tennis, Austin said, “Tennis is a life long sport. It’s social and the best way to get started is taking some lessons to develop good technique and then practice. Playing on a high school team gets you out playing three to four times or more a week.” Her son Brandon Holt is rising in professional tennis, having played on the USC Tennis Team. He was invited to play at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

The following day, I was invited to Citi Taste of Tennis during the first night of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Austin was one of the invited hosts, along with some of the most talented culinary teams, beverage and spirits representatives. The lively and entertaining festival for tennis players and tennis fans was located on the back lawn of the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa.

Tracy Austin attended a fireside chat and participated in a cooking demonstration with Michelin Star Chef Minh Phan making mochi. Afterwards I approached her and introduced myself. Two other fans approached us and told Austin that they watched her practicing with her son Brandon. “As a mother, there is only so much I can say. It’s a fine line offering advice. Do you know what I mean?” Austin said.

As a mother, I do. You want the best for your children, however you don’t want to offer too much advice. You want them to stand on their own two feet, yet always know that your advice just comes from love and that you will always be there for them.

Citi Taste of Tennis will also take place in Miami on March 20, 2023 at JW Marriott Miami. Citi Taste of Tennis in Washington DC is on July 30, 2023, and Citi Taste of Tennis New York is on August 24, 2023 at Gotham Hall.

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