Former multi-athlete Tony Trabert of the University of Cincinnati died last week on February 3rd at his Florida home. The UC graduate was 90 years old.
Former University of Cincinnati (UC) multisport star Tony Trabert died last week on February 3 at his Florida home. The UC alumnus was 90 years old.
Trabert is from Cincinnati and was excellent at both basketball and tennis. As a high school student, he won two consecutive individual state championships, the first person to accomplish the feat. After receiving scholarship offers from schools across the country, Trabert decided to stay in Queen City for his college career, where he won the NCAA Individual Championship in 1951.
On the hardwood, Trabert was a starting shot for the UC team that took the Mid-American Conference Championship home with them.
After his college career, Trabert spent two years in the Navy before returning to the tennis circuit. He wasted no time trying to distinguish himself as one of the best players in the world. His 1955 season is considered one of the greatest in tennis history.
After losing to great colleague Ken Rosewall in the Australian Open semifinals, Trabert lost just six games for the rest of the season and won 106, a record that still stands.
His remarkable campaign included a streak of 38 consecutive games without loss and 10 consecutive tournament wins. The 25-year-old won 18 tournament titles, including three major championships. In his career Trabert won 10 major titles, five each in doubles and singles.
“Tony Trabert’s journey from UC to the top of the tennis world and beyond demonstrates the ability of college athletics to make a sports student change the world,” said UC Athletics Director John Cunningham. “Throughout this, he represented the Bearcats with class, honor, and dignity. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. “
Trabert’s first big win came in 1950 along with his doubles partner and Cincinnati colleague Bill Talbert at the French Championships (now known as the French Open). The UC tennis center is named after the duo.
Trabert led the United States to a Davis Cup title in 1954, a competition in which countries compete against each other similar to the World Cup. From 1976 to 1980 he was the United States captain in the competition, helping the team take home the trophy twice during that time.
In 1970 Trabert was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and later served as President of the Hall for 12 years. He also became a tennis broadcaster for CBS Sports, a tennis writer, and a motivational speaker.
Trabert remains one of only six bearcats to make it into a national hall of fame. The other five are Sandy Koufax (baseball), Miller Huggins (baseball), Oscar Robertson (basketball), Jack Twyman (basketball), and longtime friend and partner on the court, Bill Talbert (tennis).
“The world knew Tony for his excellence in tennis, from his remarkable career to his Davis Cup success as a player and captain, to the voice of the US Open during his decades at CBS Sports,” said J. Wayne, tournament director of Western & Southern Open Richmond told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Tony’s influence extended well beyond the court, especially for those who knew him well. He was so proud of his Cincinnati roots and has always been a staunch supporter of the tournament here. “
Trabert leaves behind his wife Vicki, his son Mike, his daughter Brooke as well as 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.