Tracy Austin Made the Big Girls Cry

Tracy Austin “hit the hell out of the ball and never missed and never choked and had braces and pigtails that swung wildly around as she handed pros their asses” (David Foster Wallace). Tracy, in other words, made the big girls cry. She even made the goddesses, the legends of the sport–Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova–cry their eyes out at some of the biggest moments in their careers. Tracy ended Chris Evert’s 6 year winning streak on clay at 125 matches. Long, long rallies. Red dirt everywhere. 3 and ½ hours. 7-6 in the third. Then as a younger better version of Chrissie herself, she beat the crap out of Chrissie in three straight matches: 6-1, 6-3; 6-3, 6-0; 6-2, 6-1. After authoring one such humiliating smackdown, she remembers seeing Chris through a locker room window: “It really shook me up to see Chris crying so hard.”

In the 1981 US Open Final, Tracy handed Martina perhaps the most devastating loss of her career: 1-6, 7-6. 7-6. Having not won the US Open yet, Martina was in tears by the end, and she cried throughout the ceremony. Austin writes that she didn’t “remember anything, except that Martina couldn’t stop crying.” As Martina cried and cried, the New York crowd began to stand and applaud, turning Martina’s tears into her first moment of public acceptance for the eastern-bloc-defecting-lesbian-overly-emotional-overly-intellectual-overly-masculine-status-quo-shattering figure she was. Martina has Tracy to thank for that.

Artist Bio: (from website at Chicane Pictures) Mark Winter is an award-winning New Zealand cartoonist, designer and film maker and his pen name, Chicane, signifies a deceptive bend. The extent to which the man himself is deceptively bendy is a matter for some head-shaking debate. Since his first ventures into cartooning, for the Otago University magazine Critic in 1976, he has refined his once-detailed style to something cleaner, sharper, and more confident, often juxtaposing visual and verbal ideas. Mark (or is it Chicane) is a former New Zealand Cartoonist of the Year, having won the QANTAS Media Award for the second time in 2008.

I would only add that Mark Winter’s wide-ranging autograph collection of tennis players–all with his own original sketches–is worth a couple of hours of anyone’s time. It also includes commentary on each player as well as a story about when and where he got each autograph. Definitely worth checking out!

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