Pancho Gonzales is the mentally toughest and greatest tennis player of all time

Discussion in 'Former Pro Player Talk' started by PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest

    PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    It is said by those who saw him that he was such a fierce competitor that he makes Jimmy Connors look like a *****cat in comparison. Think about that for a second.

    It has also been said that he never lost serve whilst serving for the set or match. He was the World No. 1 professional tennis player for an unequalled eight years in the 1950s and early 1960s.

    A 1999 Sports Illustrated article about the magazine's 20 "favorite athletes" of the 20th century said about Gonzales (their number 15 pick): "If earth was on the line in a tennis match, the man you want serving to save humankind would be Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez." American tennis commentator Bud Collins echoed this in an August 2006 article for MSNBC.com: "If I had to choose someone to play for my life, it would be Pancho Gonzales."

    He also had great longetivity and as a 41-year-old at Wimbledon in 1969, Gonzales met Charlie Pasarell, a Puerto Rican younger than Gonzales by 16 years.

    Gonzales fought back from 2 sets down to win an epic encounter 22-24, 1–6, 16-14, 6–3, 11-9. Gonzales saved all seven match points that Pasarell had against him in the fifth set, twice coming back from 0-40 deficits, to walk off the court the eventual winner in a 5-hour, 12-minute epic.

    Here is a YouTube video about the incredible Pancho Gonzales: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY
     
    #1
  2. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Can we not have one single day of peace on this forum????? Two trolls got banned yesterday and now this
     
    #2
  3. Numenor

    Numenor Rookie

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    245
    [​IMG]
     
    #3
  4. PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest

    PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    What on earth are you talking about? I am simply paying my respects to the mentally strongest tennis player of all time and one of the greatest fighters in all of sports. Gonzales is up there with Michael Jordan, Rocky marciano in terms of sheer will to win.
     
    #4
  5. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I'm not talking about your appraisal of Gonzales just with the way you phrase things. Someone's been taking lessons from NSK ;)
     
    #5
  6. PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest

    PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    That is how I express myself. I believe strongly that Pancho Gonzales is the greatest tennis player of all time. Maybe you wouldn't protest so much if I said Federer was the greatest.
     
    #6
  7. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    As I said before I have no issues with who you consider the greatest but the way you did it
     
    #7
  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Pancho Gonzales is the most underrated player of all time, by a country mile. He is a possible GOAT, yet many people in the tennis world don't even know who he is.
     
    #8
  9. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    The thing is unfortunately we lack video footage of those matches like we do with federer Sampras and even laver and so Gonzales hasn't made it big into the Internet world
     
    #9
  10. SStrikerR

    SStrikerR Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Location:
    Not Fantasy Land
    Belong in former pro player section. Gtfo
     
    #10
  11. PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest

    PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    So just because you have issues with how I express myself, then I should change just to make you happy? Everyone is different and expresses themselves in different ways. If you don't like how I express myself, then no one is forcing you to read my threads. As long as I don't break any rules, then I should be allowed to express myself how I like.

    Trolling is something I have no interest in. I like tennis too much to waste my time trolling. Everything I say, I believe deep down, and I am not trying to provoke anyone. I've been a big admirer for Federer's natural ability since I first saw in play in 1998 but I have always been a big critic of his fragile mind. He sort of won me over with his brilliant performances in 2004 but then that mental fragility surfaced again and he started making too many unforced errors in matches.
     
    #11
  12. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    That's a shame. Gonzalez is arguably the greatest player of all time and his record stands with anyone. Incidentally guys, while Gonzales is often spelled with an "s" the spelling in the Hall of Champions at the National Tennis Center is with a "z."
     
    #12
  13. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Point taken. Just that the way you listed things was sort of similar to a troll who was banned a while back but I was wrong and I apologize
     
    #13
  14. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Messages:
    4,377
    Wasn't called Gorgo (Gorgonzola) for nothing. Smilie.
     
    #14
  15. TMF

    TMF Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    Messages:
    21,367
    Why do you have to keep on defending Pancho? There are players that were before this time, and experts from TTC have Budge and Tilden in the top 10 greatest male player. So you can't say that Pancho was overlooked.
     
    #15
  16. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    I actually believe Pancho Gonzalez is greatly overlooked but people like superficially at the totals of classic majors not realizing he couldn't play the classic majors.
     
    #16
  17. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Tilden is fortunate in that during his amateur prime, the best players in the world were also amateurs, and Tilden was also the first really big tennis superstar to do very well as a professional, after players like Vinny Richards and Karel Kozeluh had shown the way for the professional game early on. Even though Tilden did very well as a professional and was aging, I believe all the credit he gets from certain circles is due to his amateur career with 7 US Championships and winning his last Wimbledon 9 years after his previous Wimbledon triumph.

    Budge has the 1938 Grand Slam to make him famous.

    Gonzales, I am sure, is only given credit by some people for his 2 US Championships titles as an amateur and the fact that he was still playing in his 40s, but his period as the best player in the world for 8 years as a professional, is clearly not acknowledged in many circles. If it were, there's no way he would be outside of the top 5 on all time lists at the very least.
     
    #17
  18. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    It frankly bugs me that people don't look at Pancho Gonzalez as one of the top five ever. People just are not examining his full record.
     
    #18
  19. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Certainly, Great Pancho didn´t have the menthal issue fed has with Nadal, he just didn´t have too many menthal issues to worry about.I con´t know if he was superior to others from that point of view, but he certainly deserves to be respected as a man of great nerve and courage.
     
    #19
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    In many ways, the roots of both Connors and Gonzales were so similar...Pancho was a chicano, grown up to hate ( in a figured or not so figured way) the sunny side of the street...and those were the first words Jimbo learnt from his mother, too.
     
    #20
  21. PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest

    PanchoGonzalesTheGreatest Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    From everything I have read, Pancho was the mentally toughest competitor in tennis history. Jimmy Connors said that if he had to choose one player to play for his life, it would be Pancho. Jimmy also said that watching Pancho play was like looking into a burning flame. Pancho's desire to win was greater than the others. He was much tougher than Federer. Pancho was also much tougher than nadal. Even Nadal admitted to having mental issues against Djokovic last year. Pancho had no mental issues against anyone.
     
    #21
  22. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    ok thats true but lets be honest here!! the game has changed a lot. There is waaaay more competition now than ever before
     
    #22
  23. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Interesting that this nonsense is repeated rather often in this forum. And I can repeat what other posters have already written: The competition at the top has NOT increased Rather the opposite is true.

    Federer has now three tough opponents or 5 if we include Berdych and del Potro who are not really consistent.

    Gonzalez had Kramer, Budge, Trabert, Hoad, Rosewall, Sedgman, Segura, Laver Gimeno, Newcombe, Roche, Ashe and Smith to name the most important.

    In the 1950s pro tour Gonzalez, Sedgman, Segura, Rosewall, Hoad and Trabert played often against each other in one tournament. Day after day an all-time great...
     
    #23
  24. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

    Joined:
    May 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7,291
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    what i mean by competition is that it takes a lot more of hardwork to win matches these days. Just because you dont have multiple slam champions doesnt mean there not good just goes to further prove how tough it is to win slams in this era
     
    #24
  25. 90's Clay

    90's Clay Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    7,540
    Yet he was barely ranked when they had the GOAT tennis list a few months back on ESPN or whatever it was
     
    #25
  26. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    It's all debatable. The champions of the past may play one hundred to hundreds of matches per year and move by car on their own from place to place. They don't travel by first class airplane or perhaps their own private plane. They hit with tiny heavy wood racquets which takes a big toll on you over a period when you swing many thousands of time. They often ate at cheap places to save money on expenses.

    Think of it this way I don't think the players are that tough when guys like Nadal and Djokovic complain about playing on Blue Clay. Laver and Gonzalez once played the US Pro in 1964 in a horrible rainstorm in which the court conditions were described as a bog. They had to play because the next day they had to go to another tournament.

    Ken Rosewall for example in 1957 played about 172 matches. Rod Laver in 1963 played 147 matches, in 1964 he played a mere 98 matches. In 1966 118 matches. In 1969 a mere 122 matches.

    Pancho Gonzalez played Jack Kramer on a tour from October 1949 to June of 1950 in which they played 123 matches. That's 123 matches in about eight months just on the tour. They may have played some tournaments and one night stands in between the tour. I believe Kramer did play several tournaments during that time and Gonzalez played at least one tournament I know of. That's a lot of tennis.
     
    #26
  27. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    It was on the Tennis Channel. It was a ridiculous superficial way of looking at players. They is NO WAY Roy Emerson ranks ahead of Pancho Gonzalez but he was higher than Gonzalez on that Tennis Channel list. I think (not sure) he was a lot higher than Pancho Gonzalez.
     
    #27
  28. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    On Tennis Channel list Pancho was ranked only 22nd which was the greatest joke of all time or the biggest scandal in the history of ranking.

    As Carlo Colussi once wrote: Any top ten list without Gonzalez (and Rosewall) is a bad list...

    Bud Collins meant in a phone call that the list was a joke and made to provoke various answers. Nevertheless I find it a scandal.

    They also could have ranked Bill Scanlon 3rd and Owen Davidson 7th...
     
    #28
  29. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    If I recall rightly Emmo was ranked at 11th place. This shows that the people who made that list ranked about along the Grand Slam titles the players have won.
     
    #29
  30. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    It's quite incredible that people who are supposed to be experts don't know how the tennis world worked in those days, and that the top professionals were much better players than the top amateurs.
     
    #30
  31. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    I also read that Pancho walked on water, fed a multitude with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, AND rose from the dead. No wait . . . .
     
    #31
  32. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    One of the reasons they rank by majors alone is that it is the easiest way to rank. How much easier is it to simply count majors? It's too simplistic and they conveniently forget the rest of the tournament schedule outside of the majors.
     
    #32
  33. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Yes, and therefore it's so important to present the list of the big pro majors additionally to the GS tournaments.
     
    #33
  34. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Unfortunately for them, tennis history is the exact opposite of simplistic.
     
    #34
  35. BobbyOne

    BobbyOne Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2012
    Messages:
    7,773
    Pancho Gonzalez deserves any praise and not any irony.
     
    #35
  36. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    Of course and some of these people who vote should realize that and at least attempt to understand the history and story of the greats of tennis.

    Federer is obviously a great player but it does bother me when some refuse to understand that greats like Gonzalez had no chance to get to 17 majors because he wasn't allowed to play during his best years and even past his best years. You can't just count majors in the case of players like Gonzalez and many in the past like Tilden who couldn't travel from country to country in hours like they do now. If the Tennis Channel "experts" realized that and looked into the true accomplishments of these players maybe the list would have been far different.
     
    #36
  37. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Someone needs to tell these guys that before the open era started, the 4 mainstream majors were stepping stones to get into the professional game with the best monetary contract and challenge the real best players in the world, not like now where those 4 majors contain all the best players.

    From the end of WW2 up until the start of the open era, apart from Roy Emerson, not one player dominated in the amateur majors for long, and that's because the best amateur players would turn professional. Kramer was dominant in the amateurs in 1946 and 1947, then turned professional, with Pails and Segura joining him. Gonzales turned professional after successfully defending his US Championships title and needing the money for his family. Sedgman turned pro in late 1952 after such a good period as an amateur. Ditto later on with McGregor, Trabert, Rosewall, Hoad, Cooper, Anderson, Olmedo, Gimeno, MacKay, Buchholz etc.

    Instead of them recognising that these players moved onto the professional game, i.e. to bigger things, why do I get the impression that they think these players fell off the face of the Earth instead?
     
    #37
  38. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Yes, well said.
     
    #38
  39. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    Because they don't look at anything besides the records in majors. They don't ask what happened to the top players.

    If the same conditions existed today of course top players like Nadal, Djokovic and Federer would turn Pro because they won amateur majors. Guess who would still be an amateur because he didn't dominate and win a major---Andy Murray! Maybe Murray would have won a lot of amateur majors now if the old system still existed. Federer would not have 17 classic majors because he would be a Pro, same with the others. Maybe by now Murray would have reached Roy Emerson type status because he may have dominated the amateurs. The Old system changed tennis records.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    #39
  40. TheFifthSet

    TheFifthSet Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Messages:
    2,421
    Good post, but this is fantasy for sure. Gonzales had played in probably 1500 documented matches, probably more (I'm just guessing). That's thousands of opportunities to serve for a set or match. There's no way he held serve every time. Apocryphal claim.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    #40
  41. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2011
    Messages:
    2,005
    There is a good reason, but not a happy one.
    True, the level of pro play was incredibly high, the highest ever, in the late 1950's. And the pros played in big-time venues like Forest Hills, Roland Garros, Kooyong, White City, etc.
    Unfortunately, Kramer refused television contracts to show these events on national television, which would have broken the doors open to open tennis.
    Why? Kramer, and others, figured they could get more immediate financial returns by keeping the pro tours behind doors and charging for live attendance, attempting to monopolize the market for the best tennis.
    This was ultimately a strategy which backfired, and after Hoad and Gonzales, the two big draws, went into semi-retirement in 1960, the remaining pros could not command the big venues anymore, and had to settle for minor venues, including sometimes downtown streets in Oklahoma.
    The pro game disappeared from the newspaper headlines, unlike the late 1950's, The New York Times no longer had a major pro tournament to cover, people forgot about pro tennis.
    It took Open tennis in 1968 to bring the pros back into public consciousness.
    But there had been a golden opportunity in the late 1950's for the pro game to dominate, if only it had gone to television, like pro golf.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012
    #41
  42. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    PC1, this is a great analogy. I love it. Think about what our debates here would look like if Andy Murray played the role of Emerson, while Federer, Djokovic and Nadal were toiling away on the pro tour as the best players in the world, but barred from the Slams.



    TMF: Federer was ranked only #29 in the recent Tennis Channel special. Murray was #10. Those are experts, I think they know what they're talking about.

    Mustard: Federer is among the most underappreciated champions in history. People only care about the 2 US titles he won as an amateur; much fewer people pay attention to what he did after turning pro. Same with Nadal and Djokovic. Those 3 players are all underappreciated champions. Look at their records on the grueling pro tour, they were unquestionably the best players in the world for many, many years.

    TMF: You guys don't know what you're talking about.
     
    #42
  43. pc1

    pc1 Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    9,465
    You are so right about the tone of the conversations if this happened. :)
     
    #43
  44. krosero

    krosero Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    5,640
    He has to be considered one of the mentally toughest of all time, but one possible negative against him is his temper. It effected his level of play on two occasions that I know of (perhaps there were others).

    He won the 1949 US title over Ted Schroeder, 16-18, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. This was in the press:

    Gonzales lost his temper and almost his match when a questionable call by the umpire gave Schroeder a set point in that wild first set. Pancho lost the next point and the set. He was so disgusted, he kicked away the second set at 6-2.​

    Something similar happened in the famous Pasarell match, which Pancho won 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9. After losing his serve in the last game of the first set (from 40-love up!), he started complaining about the fading light. He couldn't get the referee to stop the match; in his anger he swatted several of Charlie's serves into the net, and he ended up losing the set 6-2. It was a complete change from the great discipline he showed in the first set.

    Of course in both matches he pulled it together and came all the way back. But maybe a case can be made that Pancho's mental toughness was not perfect, due to his temper.
     
    #44
  45. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Kramer once said that Gonzales played even better when he was mad. By "mad", I assume Kramer meant when Gonzales kept his anger inside and didn't explode. Anger can be used as a weapon as long as it is concentrated in the same direction, in the same way a piston box can make steam a weapon.
     
    #45
  46. Limpinhitter

    Limpinhitter Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    9,277
    I think Pancho would have thought it was funny.
     
    #46
  47. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2008
    Messages:
    3,771
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    A great player. Some of his defenders are pretty slow learners when it comes to spelling his name, however.
     
    #47
  48. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    25,114
    Location:
    Cwmbran, Wales
    Gonzales' real name was Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez. Why was he called Pancho? Pancho is short for Francisco, which is why Segura's first name was Pancho. Gonzales' first name was Ricardo, or Richard in anglicised form, so Pancho was more of a nickname for him.
     
    #48
  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    18,714
    Laver himself said that he rather play a furious and angered Gonzales ( which was a scaring big man) because he´d made unexpected mistakes, than a calm Gonzales, who could concentrated in the best use of his devastating play.

    He also cites locker room funny stuff, like he stood up against Pancho after a torrid match and the guy was so surprised that anybody dared to face him ( specially a small guy but with a terrific wrist and arm) that he suddenly calmed down...
     
    #49
  50. CyBorg

    CyBorg Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2007
    Messages:
    5,544
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Pancho was pretty cool. No qualms with people calling him the best. He has a case and was the game's best player for close to a decade.
     
    #50

Share This Page