LOS ANGELES — Jeanne Austin, the matriarch of a tennis-playing family that produced four professional players, including two-time U.S. Open champion Tracy Austin, has died. She was 84.

She died Tuesday of heart failure at Torrance Memorial Hospital after a long illness, daughter Pam Austin said Friday.

From 1962-77, Jeanne Austin managed the pro shop at the Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., where her five children learned to play tennis. Besides Tracy and Pam, sons Jeff and John played on the pro circuit, with all four playing at Wimbledon, and her other son Doug was a top college player.

The most successful of the Austin children was Tracy, who earned the No. 1 ranking during a career closely supervised by her mother. Jeanne took her youngest child with her to the tennis club when she went to work, and put Tracy into a tennis program when she was 2.

In 1977, at age 14 in Portland, Ore., Tracy became the youngest player at the time to win a pro event. She beat Chris Evert to win her first U.S. Open title at 16 in 1979. She and her mother celebrated by eating at McDonald’s. In 1981, Tracy Austin defeated Martina Navratilova to win the U.S. Open again.

Jeanne Austin always accompanied her daughter on the WTA Tour, monitoring her interactions with the media and players, most of whom were much older than Tracy.

After she had heart valve replacement surgery five years ago, she would go to the Kramer club on Mondays and have a pro hit balls to her.

“She would stand at the service line for 20 minutes,” Pam Austin said. “That was the hardest part for her, that she wasn’t going to play anymore. She was in her element around tennis.”

In her 1992 autobiography “Beyond Center Court,” Tracy Austin wrote that her parents met at UCLA when her father was an Air Force captain and her mother was a junior. Her mother didn’t play tennis at the time.

After the Austins moved back to California, Jeanne became a “tennis nut,” the book said. She was ranked 25th in the Southern California women’s division at one point.

In addition to her five children, Jeanne Austin is survived by her husband of 64 years, George, a retired nuclear physicist, and 10 grandchildren.


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