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Legendary tennis player, former UC star Tony Trabert is dead at the age of 90

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Posted at 2:30 PM, Feb 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-04 16:09:34-05

CINCINNATI — International Tennis Hall of Famer Tony Trabert has died at the age of 90, according to the University of Cincinnati.

Trabert, a former UC and Walnut Hills standout, had one of the most distinguished tennis careers in the sport's history.

Trabert was introduced to tennis on the courts at Bond Hill Park near his childhood home and would go on to be the No. 1 ranked amateur player in the world while winning 10 major championships.

“Athletics has lost one of its all-time greats,” UC Director of Athletics John Cunningham said.

“Tony Trabert’s path from UC to top of the tennis world and beyond demonstrates the ability of college athletics to propel a student-athlete to go out and change the world. Through it all, he represented the Bearcats with class, honor and dignity. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

Trabert was the Wimbledon singles champion in 1955, a two-time French Open singles champion (1954, 1955) and a two-time U.S. Championships (later U.S. Open) singles champion (1953, 1955) among several other titles and honors in his career.

“The world knew Tony for his excellence in tennis, from his remarkable career to his Davis Cup success as a player and captain to being the voice of the US Open during his decades with CBS Sports,” said Western & Southern Open Tournament Director J. Wayne Richmond.

“Tony’s impact went far beyond the court, in particular to those who knew him closely. He was so proud of his Cincinnati roots and was always a loyal supporter of the tournament here."

The UC Athletics Hall of Famer was the NCAA singles champion at UC in 1951 and the runner-up in doubles.

He was also the starting guard on the 1951 UC basketball team that participated in the National Invitation Tournament.

Trabert was a six-time winner of the Tri-State Tennis Tournament, what is today known as the Western & Southern Open.

His 1951 singles title came with a win in the final over his friend, idol, mentor and fellow Cincinnatian Bill Talbert. Trabert also won the singles title in 1953 to go with four doubles titles (1949, ’51, ’53, ’55).

Trabert, a 1948 Walnut Hills graduate, was a member of the United States Davis Cup teams from 1951-55. He was a captain of five U.S. Davis Cup teams (1953, 1976-80).

He was United States Hardcourt singles champion (1954), doubles champion (1950, 1953) and National Indoor singles and doubles champion (1955).

Trabert’s 1955 campaign is still considered one of the greatest single seasons in tennis history.

Over 23 tournaments in 1955, Trabert won 18 singles titles while compiling a record of 106-7. He also won more than a dozen doubles titles that season.

In August of that year, he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

He was named to the Hamilton County Hall of Fame (1968), the National Lawn Tennis Hall of Fame (1970), the College Tennis Hall of Fame (1983), and the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame (2002).

Trabert was inducted into the Cincinnati Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

He was the first Ohio high school tennis player to win three consecutive state singles titles. He did not lose a single match in high school or college career, according to his CPS biography.

"CPS and the Cincinnati community has lost a local legend and tennis hall of famer, Tony Trabert," said CPS athletics manager Josh Hardin.

"His dedication to the sport of tennis always shined brightly as a player and a broadcaster. He was a true ambassador for tennis. Tony was extremely loyal and passionate to the city of Cincinnati and his alma maters, UC and Walnut Hills."

Trabert, who lived in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1970 and later served as its president.

He spent 30 years as a television commentator for CBS Sports and became known as the "voice of the U.S. Open." He was also inducted into the Ohio High School Athletic Association Circle of Champions several years ago.

Trabert is survived by his wife of more than 30 years, Vicki, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.