Lively Tales About Dead Teams

1974 Denver Racquets


Denver RacquetsWorld Team Tennis (1974)

Born: 1974 – WTT founding franchise.
Moved: February 6, 1975 (Phoenix Racquets)

Arena: Denver Auditorium Arena

Team Colors:

Owners: Bud Fischer & Frank Goldberg


The Denver Racquets were a One-Year Wonder that played during the debut season of World Team Tennis in the summer of 1974.  World Team Tennis was a co-ed sports league promoted by women’s superstar Billie Jean King.  In the “team” concept, each club consisted of three male and three female players.  Matches consisted of a single set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles, with one point awarded to a team for each game won within a set.

The Racquets roster consisted of Jeff Austin, Pam Austin, Francoise Durr, Stephanie Johnson, Kristine Kemmer Shaw, Andrew Pattison and 29-year old Australian player-coach Tony Roche.

The Racquets got off to a dismal 2-8 start to the 1974 season.  But the Racquets soon found their form and went 28-6 the rest of the way to win the Pacific Division with a 30-14 record.

In the playoffs, the Racquets dispatched the San Francisco Golden Gaters and the Minnesota Buckskins to the reach the best-of-three World Team Tennis championship series against Billie Jean King and the Philadelphia Freedoms.  The Racquets swept the Freedoms in two matches, clinching the title for Denver on August 26, 1974 before 5,134 fans at The Spectrum in Philadelphia.   Denver’s Andrew Pattison was named playoff MVP and Roche was honored as the league’s Coach-of-the-Year.

The Racquets were owned by San Diego businessmen Bud Fischer and Frank Goldberg, who also owned the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association at the time.  Despite winning the championship in their first season, the pair lost interest in World Team Tennis and decided to focus their attentions on the basketball team, putting the Racquets up for sale in December 1974.  The club moved to Phoenix, Arizona under new ownership (including Oakland A’s star Reggie Jackson) in February 1975 and played four seasons as the Phoenix Racquets (1975-1978) before World Team Tennis went out of business in late 1978.

Fun fact: the Racquets mascot was an Airedale named “Topspin” owned by team member Francoise Durr.


==1974 Denver Racquets Results==

Date Opponent Score Program Other
7/14/1974 @ Pittsburgh Triangles W 25-22
7/18/1974 vs. Pittsburgh Triangles W 27-26
8/2/1974 vs. Baltimore Banners W 28-20
8/7/1974 @ Minnesota Buckskins L 26-22
8/10/1974 @ Los Angeles Strings W 28-22
8/11/1974 @ Los Angeles Strings W ?-22
8/15/1974 vs. Baltimore Banners W 29-19
8/19/1974 vs. Golden Gaters W 29-17
8/20/1974 @ Golden Gaters W 32-24
8/26/1974 @ Philadelphia Freedoms W 28-24



==Key Players==

  • Francoise Durr
  • Tony Roche



World Team Tennis Media Guides

World Team Tennis Programs


Written by AC

September 14th, 2013 at 1:17 am

2 Responses to '1974 Denver Racquets'

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  1. How many One-Year Wonders won championships? (Other than whoever won the XFL?)

    Beau Dure

    14 Sep 13 at 12:21 pm

  2. A lot. It kind of depends on how deep you want to dive into really fly-by-night operations in minor league baseball, hockey, indoor soccer, etc.

    But if you stuck to league’s that had a nationwide footprint, here’s what a few I can think of off the top of my head, besides the Racquets:

    *Birmingham Americans, World Football League, 1974
    *Nebraska Wranglers, Women’s Basketball League, 1981
    *Baltimore Stars, USFL, 1985 (sort of)


    14 Sep 13 at 1:28 pm

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