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Jeanne Austin, tennis family matriarch, dies at 84

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 following 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, while 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.

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 and have a pro hit balls to her. "She would stand at the service line for 20 minutes," Pam said. "That was the hardest part for her, that she wasn't going to play anymore."

In addition to her five children, Austin is survived by her husband of 64 years, George, and 10 grandchildren. - AP

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