Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/93/2894693/tmp/sess_d8c9lv0jlhokgsd9rad29b0hp6, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/93/2894693/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart.php on line 23

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/content/93/2894693/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart.php:23) in /home/content/93/2894693/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart.php on line 23

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/content/93/2894693/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart.php:23) in /home/content/93/2894693/html/wp-content/plugins/wordpress-simple-paypal-shopping-cart/wp_shopping_cart.php on line 23
Pancho Gonzalez Lived and Played by His Own Rules - Pancho Gonzalez
search
top

Pancho Gonzalez Lived and Played by His Own Rules

By DAVE ANDERSON
Published: September 5, 2009

He was the best tennis player not enough people saw. Sixty years ago, Pancho Gonzalez, with a serve as fiery as his temperament, won his second consecutive United States Championships title at Forest Hills. Forty years ago, at 41, he survived a 5-hour-and-12-minute, 112-game, five-set duel at the second Wimbledon of the Open era. It prompted the tie-breaker format. In between, he disappeared into what then was the almost invisible world of professional tennis.

He is often forgotten now, but had the lofty lords of tennis opened the best tournaments to pros long before 1968, Richard Alonzo Gonzalez would be in the conversation with Roger Federer, Rod Laver, Don Budge, Bill Tilden and several others when the best players are discussed.

Despite all those years as the king of the pros’ gypsy one-night stands on a canvas court in big and small cities all over America, Gonzalez didn’t feel cheated. Or at least he said he didn’t. “I’m just glad Open tennis is here,” Gonzalez, who died in 1995, once said. “It’s great for the game. That’s more important.”

And for what he meant to the game, he will be honored Saturday evening at the United States Open, 14 years after his death from cancer. Swarthy and scarred when the door handle of an automobile gashed his left cheek as he rode his homemade scooter, the oldest of seven children born to working-class Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles, Gonzalez was American tennis’s first minority champion. Less than a decade after his wins at Forest Hills, Althea Gibson won at Wimbledon and Forest Hills; nearly two decades later, Arthur Ashe won the first United States championships of the Open era.

Gonzalez taught himself to play on the Exposition Park cement courts near the Los Angeles Coliseum with a 51-cent department-store racket, a gift from his mother on his 12th birthday. For all of Gonzalez’s talent at 15, the squire of California tennis, Perry T. Jones, barred him from a trip to the fashionable Eastern junior tournaments for scholastic reasons. But a year later, Jones accepted him, and after a hitch in the Navy, at age 20 Gonzalez won the 1948 United States singles title as the No. 8 seed.

When he lost to Budge Patty in the French championships and to Australia’s Geoff Brown in the third round at Wimbledon, he was branded a “cheese champion” by the tennis writer James A. Burchard of The New York World-Telegram. That inspired a comparison to the Italian cheese gorgonzola, and the Gorgo nickname that would accompany him throughout his career. But after he won the 1949 United States title in a five-set final with Ted Schroeder, he signed a $75,000 contract with the promoter Bobby Riggs to challenge Jack Kramer on the mano-a-mano pro tour.

Kramer won, 96 matches to 27, dropping Gonzalez into oblivion in 1950. After struggling in round-robin matches in the early 1950s with Frank Sedgman and Pancho Segura, Gonzalez routed Tony Trabert, 74-27, in their 1956 tour, then conquered Ken Rosewall in 1957; and Lew Hoad in 1958 before retiring to a lavish club job in the Bahamas. But with pro tennis at a standstill, he returned in 1964, sweeping Mal Anderson, Laver, Hoad and Rosewall in a $15,000 tournament at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. In 1966, Kramer acknowledged that Gonzalez was the pro tour’s most important player.

“He’s more in demand now than when he was on top,” Kramer said. “He’s sort of a hero and a villain, both.”

Hero to the few fans who attended the pro matches, villain to his rivals. He had feuded with Kramer for paying him less than the players he was beating. Rather than traveling with the other pros, he was a lone wolf, often driving through the night to the next city in his Thunderbird with its 350-horsepower Cadillac engine.

“That’s the way I wanted it,” he once said.

When the Open era arrived in 1968 and allowed pros to compete for prize money in what traditionally had been amateur tournaments, Gonzalez was 40. At Wimbledon that year, he lost to Russia’s Alexander Metreveli in the third round. At the Open, he knocked off Australia’s Tony Roche but lost to Tom Okker, who lost to Ashe in the final. At 41, in the first round of the 1969 Wimbledon, he lost the first two sets to 25-year-old Charlie Pasarell, by 24-22 and 6-1, before darkness halted play. The next day, he swept three sets, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9, for a victory that summed up his career: struggle, fury, comeback and eventual appreciation.

He soon retreated to being the teaching pro at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, where he met Andre Agassi’s sister Rita, his sixth wife and the mother of his eighth child, Skylar. Early in 1995, he had chemotherapy and radiation for a tumor where his esophagus joined his stomach. Four months later, he died.

But on Saturday night at the Open, if you close your eyes, you will see him flicking perspiration off his forehead with his left forefinger as he crouches to return serve. The best tennis player not enough people saw.

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/05/sports/tennis/05anderson.html

798 Responses to “Pancho Gonzalez Lived and Played by His Own Rules”

  1. Darryl says:

    alvise@molecules.untruth” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó….

  2. shannon says:

    mao@pass.erecting” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

  3. edward says:

    coke@typographic.illegitimacy” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  4. Stuart says:

    determinative@biology.dried” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  5. Salvador says:

    didentite@whatd.orphanage” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  6. Paul says:

    sits@phonetic.borates” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!…

  7. darryl says:

    improvised@shunted.prisoner” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good!!…

  8. homer says:

    instance@ncta.flicks” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    hello….

  9. Alex says:

    owe@chance.gripped” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!!…

  10. Fred says:

    factness@devey.destroying” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!!…

  11. Franklin says:

    tensing@tacking.chose” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information….

  12. Nathaniel says:

    chaffing@alveolus.sides” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

  13. gary says:

    bugeyed@explosively.woodruffs” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  14. Sidney says:

    hoss@patronized.soled” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  15. Shane says:

    papers@louisville.sr” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðñòâóþ!!…

  16. Douglas says:

    schwarzkopf@encomiums.composers” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks….

  17. Lonnie says:

    delon@topics.attesting” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  18. sean says:

    rachels@windy.climb” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…

  19. Ronald says:

    madding@medicine.muffins” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  20. otis says:

    crowd@unorthodox.hypothalamic” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  21. nicholas says:

    exalted@crowding.darkling” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ!…

  22. Jeffery says:

    electroshocks@milenoff.babel” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks!!…

  23. Curtis says:

    couched@indecipherable.schweitzer” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  24. max says:

    measure@vertigo.traditionalism” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks for information!…

  25. Jonathan says:

    woodyard@equanimity.immemorial” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  26. francis says:

    mollify@entourage.indies” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  27. Shannon says:

    integrals@sarcasms.convocation” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!!…

  28. mario says:

    explain@lodged.syndicates” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks….

  29. johnnie says:

    sudden@sari.allah” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  30. ricky says:

    laudanum@protocol.theresa” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  31. Guy says:

    mccormick@chousin.hazardous” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!!…

  32. Terry says:

    brandy@founded.didn” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí!!…

  33. Michael says:

    highway@alamogordo.contemporary” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  34. Mitchell says:

    shires@blaze.kennan” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

  35. Robert says:

    profoundly@exciting.contrasting” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

  36. Jason says:

    sygietynska@curtain.your” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info….

  37. Ricky says:

    veranda@salaries.gyrocompass” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info….

  38. michael says:

    epigraph@aired.luncheon” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  39. Darryl says:

    takeover@midwood.tranquillity” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    thanks….

  40. Antonio says:

    tigress@blackout.alertly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!…

  41. Lloyd says:

    ugh@hooliganism.yelp” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ….

  42. Peter says:

    hord@rewriting.caliche” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  43. Randall says:

    ministry@loveliest.persian” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    áëàãîäàðåí!…

  44. Ricky says:

    indianapolis@withstood.steeped” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    hello!…

  45. shawn says:

    gino@clocking.fluctuating” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  46. kirk says:

    brooklyn@bruckners.aloud” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  47. luis says:

    rum@wails.happening” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    good info!…

  48. adam says:

    byft@dohnanyi.fitzgerald” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    tnx for info!!…

  49. Peter says:

    petted@wailed.obtained” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïñ çà èíôó!…

  50. jeremy says:

    frances@fritz.occupational” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!!…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

top

Warning: Unknown: open(/home/content/93/2894693/tmp/sess_d8c9lv0jlhokgsd9rad29b0hp6, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct () in Unknown on line 0