A couple of hundred tennis dignitaries, players and fans gathered at the UCLA Tennis Center on Saturday afternoon to give one last farewell to legendary figure Jack Kramer, who died at 88 on Sept. 12.
A funeral was held for him last week and he was buried in Santa Monica. Another memorial was held at the golf course he created, Los Serranos in Chino Hills. Saturday’s was the third, and final, gathering for family and friends to remember his impact on the game he helped push forward from the 1940s to present day.
The focus of Sunday’s column is the impact Kramer had on the life of Tracy Austin, the former U.S. Open champion who grew up at the Jack Kramer Club in Rolling Hills Estates.
Among the things said in tribute Saturday to Kramer, survived by his five sons and eight grandchildren:
== Son Bob: “It was a fabulous and glorious end, but he got a bad call late in the fifth set. He didn’t argue it. ”
== Barry MacKay, a former Davis Cup player and broadcaster: “The best promoter the game of tennis ever has had, and ever will have.”
== USTA Southern California Section President Bill Kellogg : “Jack was all about celebrating life, and he was truly a champion of the game.”
== US Open Tournament Director Jim Curley : “Every one of us who makes our living in professional tennis owes a debt of gratitude to Jack.”
== Eddie Merrins, the long-time PGA teaching pro at Bel Air Country Club, comparing Kramer to legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden : We in golf like to claim Jack Kramer just like you in tennis do.”
== Charlie Pasarell, another promoter and former UCLA player, who spoke of idolizing Kramer: “When I came here from Puerto Rico, playing with that wooden Jack Kramer racket, the first thing I wanted to do was to meet my idol. In the world of tennis, Jack Kramer was a giant. Nothing less. More importantly, Jack was a good man, a champion in life.”
== Eldest son David, who runs the Los Serranos Golf Club: “He was a champion not because he came in No. 1. His life was a gift to us, and we accept in all gratitude.”
== Former women’s champion Pam Shriver: “:When I was 9 growing up in Baltimore, my coach taught me the Jack Kramer forehand. When it was working, it was a deep, sliding hard flat approach shot.”