Pam Austin, 26, says: "When I was 13 all the girls gave me palomino replicas for my birthday. You know, plastic. Everybody was horse crazy, so this was a big deal. I didn't care. It was like giving a can of tennis balls to a girl who hates tennis. Can you imagine my kid sister getting a present of plastic horses? She'd go nuts."
Doug Austin, 22, says, "I was the first one to go natural with the haircut. It was in high school. When the others went for it, my mother said she would just give up. She hated it. But now I guess it's O.K. The kid sister is the only one left with straight hair."
Jeff Austin, 24, says, "Once I was in Germany, playing an exhibition. Karlsruhe, I think it was. I was really impressed with myself, when this little girl came up after the match. I thought she wanted an autograph, but what she really wanted to know was if I was related to the kid sister. The whole thing is getting ridiculous."
George Austin, 54, says, "The cutest thing was when she was nine, and she would beat the best women in the club. Then she would go play in the sandbox."
In order to become a phenomenal success as a woman tennis player, it is not really necessary to start out in Southern California by winning the Sandy Beach Two and Unders at the age of eight months in front of your disgustingly fresh and beautifully tanned tennis-playing family of 53 brothers and sisters. Witness our current American champion, Chris Evert, who strayed from this pattern: she started out in Florida.
Still, it certainly helps to have older brothers and sisters who play the game and set standards for you to emulate. And it doesn't hurt if they are willing to hang around at their particular level waiting for you to whip them on the way to championships.
James Scott Connors often acknowledges that a desire to surpass his brother John's efforts on the court was one of his own early inducements. Sibling rivalries have been part of the international tennis scene for years. Currently the Amritraj brothers of India are the best known, but right here at home we have the brothers Mayer of New Jersey, Sandy and Gene, and the Gottfrieds of Florida, Brian and Larry. Then, too, there is Harold Solomon, probably the most improved player in the world this year, whose sister Shelly is ranked No. 1 in the national girls' 12-and-under. The Redondos of National City, Calif., Walter and Marita, and the Louies of San Francisco, Marcie, Mama and Mareen, are youthful members of other families with impressive tennis bloodlines.
But surely the most impressive tennis family of all hails from 26406 Dunwood Road in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. In just about 10 years the Austins of Rolling Hills have accumulated more than 400 tournament victories in local, state, national and international competition, including a remarkable nine USTA national championships.
Pam, the oldest, is a former member of the U.S. junior Wightman Cup team and was the national hard-court doubles champion in 1968. She played three years on the Virginia Slims tour and two seasons with the Phoenix (n�e Denver) Racquets of World Team Tennis. At present she is an assistant teaching pro at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Jeff won the Southern California doubles championships in the 14, 16 and 18 age groups. He won the Orange Bowl doubles title with Guillermo Vilas in 1967 and played on the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team for three years. An All-America at UCLA from 1971 to 1973, he was a member of two NCAA championship teams and won the national hard-courts title at Aptos, Calif. after his senior year. He also has played for Denver-Phoenix of WTT and was ranked 26th among USTA men in 1974.