It's been more than three decades since Tony Trabert, who won five Grand Slam singles titles, slipped on sneakers and whacked a ball across the net in his last professional match, but just because he's no longer a tennis player doesn't mean he's no longer a player in tennis.
For the last three years Trabert has served as president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. Every weekday morning, after a seven-mile bike ride, a cup of coffee and a close look at the box scores in the sports section, Trabert, who lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., steps into his home office, fires up the fax machine and gets to work. Sometimes his task is assessing the accomplishments of potential candidates for enshrinement, sometimes it's fund-raising for the hall, but it's always a pleasure for the 74year-old Trabert. "It's a passion for Tony, and for anybody else it would be a job," says Mark Stenning, the Hall of Fame's CEO.
Trabert is not only the president of the Hall of Fame but also a member since his induction in 1970. He is best remembered for his standout play in 1955, when he won Wimbledon and the French and U.S. championships. ( Jimmy Connors is the only American man since then to win three Grand Slam singles events in the same year.) Outstanding performances as a player and captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team cemented Trabert's legacy. His 14--3 Davis Cup record is the second best by a U.S. team captain.
After Trabert retired from competitive tennis in 1963, he joined Burlington Industries as a regional sales manager in charge of women's and men's hosiery. In 1971 he began a 30year career as a tennis and golf analyst for CBS, covering such events as the U.S. Open. He also served as a sportscaster for an Australian TV network for 21 years.
While covering a golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach in 1982, Trabert met his wife, Vicki, who was a real estate agent at the time. The two have been married for 20 years; their blended family includes five children and nine grandkids.
To his grandchildren he's not Tony Trabert, Hall of Famer; he's simply Bubbie. "I'm just their pal," Trabert says. "I don't talk too much about that [Hall of Fame] stuff, and they're not that interested."
But every morning Trabert begins his work underneath a framed photo of 50 of the greatest tennis players alive, players he brought together last summer for the Hall of Fame's 50th-anniversary celebration. Trabert of course, is among them. -- Melissa Segura