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. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    That was great. It made me laugh. Thanks!
     
    #51
  2. ClarkC

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    I was not referring to the spelling of his first name. I was pointing out that his own fans cannot spell his last name consistently, even days after being corrected.
     
    #52
  3. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    And as I've explained, Richard Gonzales is anglicised, i.e. English language. Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez is his real Spanish language name. Pancho was his nickname, as it's only usually used for men with the first name Francisco, like Francisco "Pancho" Segura, not for men with the first name Ricardo.

    It's like Johan Cruyff (English language), Johan Cruijff (Dutch language).
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
    #53
  4. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    there´s traditionally 2 kinds of tough guys: the cooky, street fighter guy like Connors,Gonzales,Becker,Mac and, somehow, even Nadal and recently Djokovic and the cool, iced, rational guys like Laver ( he was more of a mixture, though), Rosewall,Lendl,Borg,Wilander,Sampras and Federer.

    it is just a matter of style and personality.it does not make you stronger menthally whether you are cooky or you are cold as an ice block.
     
    #54
  5. Dan Lobb

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    When did "Gonzalez" start being used as spelling? About forty years after he retired?
     
    #55
  6. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    That was his real name.
     
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  7. Dan Lobb

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    But he appeared to accept "Gonzales", even in his own autobiography. How did he sign his cheques?
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
    #57
  8. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Just like Johan Cruijff excepted "Cruyff". Gonzales is anglicised, Gonzalez is the Spanish language version of his name. He accepted Gonzales and Gonzalez, as well as Richard and Ricardo. I'm not sure what he thought of the nickname Pancho, though. I've even heard rumours that he disliked the Pancho nickname.
     
    #58
  9. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Check out the spelling on the court that Gonzalez played on in this video at about 2:25. I do know for a fact the family prefers that his name be spelled Gonzalez.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0gJzm_EQY
     
    #59
  10. Gonzalito17

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    I think Pancho Gonzalez was the ultimate warrior in tennis history and the amazing Pasarell victory was his defining moment.
     
    #60
  11. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    He is overrated in that as much as he is underrated on other things
    Gonzales was a great warrior but no more than 10 or 20 other players

    Looking angry does not make you tougher
    Borg was cooler than Connors but owned left and right Jimmy mentaly
     
    #61
  12. Dan Lobb

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    I cannnot judge the date, looks like late 1960's, but in his prime, you only saw "Gonzales", including his own autobiography (the final test).
     
    #62
  13. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Except the real final test is that his family prefers the z at the end.
     
    #63
  14. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree Kiki but I will say that Gonzalez could be argued to be as tough as any player that ever lived.
     
    #64
  15. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Look at the title of this thread.
     
    #65
  16. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    They probably also preferred "Ricardo" instead of "Richard".
     
    #66
  17. Dan Lobb

    Dan Lobb Hall of Fame

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    Ricardo Gonzalez belongs to his family, but Pancho Gonzales, the moniker the man himself used on his autobiography, belongs to history.
    The distinction is easy. Use "Ricardo Gonzalez" when contacting his family (or himself in his later years), and "Pancho Gonzales" when discussing tennis history.
    Arthur Ashe was a personal friend of Gonzales, and even took excursions with him. He always called him "Richard", never "Pancho", although most in the 1950's, including his friends, used "Pancho" when talking with Gonzales, and "Segoo" for Segura.
     
    #67
  18. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Well, as I've mentioned, Pancho is generally used as a shortened name for Francisco. Segura's name is Francisco Olegario Segura, so when he's called Pancho, it's short for Francisco (like say Tony is for Anthony). Segura's nickname is Segoo.

    Gonzales' name was Ricardo Alonso Gonzalez, and was sometimes anglicised to Richard Gonzales. Gonzales' nickname was Pancho (unlike with Segura, where Pancho is a shortened version of Francisco), which was regularly used.
     
    #68
  19. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Dan,

    You've got to kidding. :shock:
     
    #69
  20. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    I know Pancho was a great warrior but mental toughness also includes capability to absorb pressure,cool and smart thinking and ability to switch tactics and change a given pattern
    Laver was excelent in those points
     
    #70
  21. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I don't think "cool" (as in headed) would ever be applied to Pancho.

    He was one of the fieriest players of all time.
     
    #71
  22. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Interesting article from exactly 50 years ago today...

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1074953/1/index.htm

    Everyone piling on to gloat over this particular Gonzales failure, including SI - "aging Pancho Gonzalez made a pathetic bid to come back". Sheesh. And apparent lack of irony regarding the outrage over Gonzales getting an appearance fee, even with the mention of Trabert getting more money during their pro tour a few years earlier.

    I wasn't there, and there are (at least) two sides to every story, but one can only imagine the sh*t Gonzales had to eat, being brown-skinned and not inclined to kowtow to the tennis establishment. No wonder he was bitter!

    In hindsight the reports of his demise were a tad premature - he gave em all a little more Hell before all was said and done.
     
    #72
  23. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    #73
  24. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Nature, or nurture?

    BTW, Mike Agassi himself no peach by most accounts.
     
    #74
  25. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Pancho a Film by Gino Tanasescu

    http://youtu.be/7wo9v33t6xI

    ( Tennis starts about 26 minutes in for the impatient. )

    At the beginning of the film that's a young Dabney Coleman pestering Pancho to get the camera into his room pre-match.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2013
    #75
  26. thor's hammer

    thor's hammer Semi-Pro

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    Interesting to note that at the 1969 Las Vegas tournament featured in the film mentioned above Gonzales at age 41 dispatched first Newcombe (then 25) in straights, Rosewall (then 35) dropping one set, and Ashe (then 26) in straights in a best of five final!

    Amazing!!
     
    #76
  27. Srinivas

    Srinivas New User

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    Greatest Grass Court player playing with a Wooden racket Pancho Gonzales
    Greatest Clay Court player playing with a Wooden racket Bjorn Borg
    Greatest all court player playing with a Wooden racket Rod Laver
    Rod Laver probably second to Gonzales on Grass and third best on clay after Borg and Rosewall.
     
    #77
  28. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Gonzalez was excellent on clay also and defeated Laver and Rosewall on clay a number of times. I actually think today's racquets would be of benefit to Gonzalez since he could hit more topspin off his backhand and the topspin bounces wouldn't bother him since he was so tall.
     
    #78
  29. Enga

    Enga Semi-Pro

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    I dont really care about records, I much prefer to watch footage and try to get an idea of their proficiency in the game. Unfortunately, theres hardly any videos of him on Youtube. Theres the documentary, but I didnt see much match footage in there.
     
    #79
  30. hoodjem

    hoodjem G.O.A.T.

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    I believe that the Pro-Am divide hurt Pancho most of all (perhaps along with Kramer).

    Many former greats (e.g. Budge, Laver) amassed an impressive record of major titles as amateurs, before being banned as pros. This has prevented them from being overlooked by those who care only about slams.
     
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    #80
  31. NatF

    NatF G.O.A.T.

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    Gonzalez was relative to his era quite possibly the best player of all time. I think Laver was more complete but Gonzalez was better peak for peak.
     
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  32. pc1

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    I think of it this way. The main goal of any tennis player in any particular year is to be number one. Now of course winning majors helps that player tremendously toward that goal but in some cases like 1973 when Nastase won just one major and Newcombe won two majors it didn't matter because Nastase had such a great record he was number one anyway. Newcombe didn't that much outside of the majors.

    Let me relate it to team sports. Let's look at the 1969 Major League Baseball season here in the United States. In 1969 the Baltimore Orioles were by far the class of baseball for the entire season. They were being called one of the best teams of all time and perhaps even the best. And in retrospect they deserved all the accolades. The Baltimore Orioles that year won 109 baseball games and outscored their opponents by a huge amount. The New York Mets had a great pitching staff but the rest of their team was not that good. The New York Mets won 100 games that year and won many many close games. The amount that they outscored their opponents was not that much and it has been proven that run differential is very important in judging the true strength of a team in baseball. Both the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets defeated their first postseason opponents by three games to none to advance to the World Series against each other. The Baltimore Orioles as you would expect were the heavy favorites to defeat the New York Mets and win the World Series and with that the World Championship. The New York Mets however upset the Baltimore Orioles by winning four games to the Orioles one game and were the 1969 Major League baseball champions.

    The New York Mets achieved their goal of winning the World Championship. If this was done by the tennis standards that we have today some may rank the Baltimore Orioles as the best team because they had the best overall season which is frankly stupid.

    To apply this to Pancho Gonzalez, Gonzalez was the World Champion from 1954 to 1961 and was arguably the best player even before that time. To read some arguing that Rosewall was the best in 1960 for example is silly to me. Gonzalez won the World Championship head to head tour that year over Rosewall, Segura and Olmedo by May. Gonzalez defeated a peak Rosewall by a crushing score of 15 to 4 and won the tour easily with a won lost record of 49-8. Rosewall was far behind in second with a score of 32-25 with Segura third at 22-28 and Olmedo last at 11-44. Since Gonzalez clinched the World Championship for 1960 by the parameters of the time there was no need for him to play the rest of the year so he took the rest of the year off. Gonzalez had played almost constantly for years and deserved to rest since he knew he was still World Champion for 1960. Rosewall than went on to win two majors that year and Olmedo, the last place finisher on the head to head tour won the other. Yet some people call Rosewall number one for that year in 1960!! That is the equivalent of calling the 1969 Baltimore Orioles the 1969 World Champions after the fact!! It's just doesn't make sense if you examine it carefully. One Rosewall supporter actually argued that Rosewall was not at his peak yet against Gonzalez in 1960 (despite being a tour veteran and being 25 years old) and that Rosewall was at his peak a few months later. I would say it's a lot easier to say you're at your peak if you not playing a slightly past prime Pancho Gonzalez.

    Bottom line is that Gonzalez was World Number One around eight times. If there was Open Tennis and winning majors would be his goal to be number one I have no doubt Gonzalez would have won over twenty majors.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
    #82
  33. pc1

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    Possibly true. What Gonzalez did have is his overwhelming serve which is arguably the best serve of all time. Laver had an excellent serve but it wasn't on Gonzalez's level.
     
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  34. Srinivas

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    Gonzales is the greatest Underrated player of all time.
    Laver is the greatest overrated player of all time.
     
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  35. KG1965

    KG1965 Professional

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    Gonzales & Rosewall are the greatest Underrated players of all time.
    Laver & Sampras is the greatest overrated player of all time.

    But Laver is was perhaps the greatest of all.
     
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  36. PeteUSA

    PeteUSA Banned

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    LOL, no , Fed is by a mile. :)

    Pancho has a case for being GOAT, same as Laver and Sampras. No way Benderer has.
     
    #86
  37. Dan Lobb

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    The problem with ratings is how you select the criteria for ratings...which is more important, consistency over the year, or winning the big tournaments? Most people would choose the winner of the biggest tournaments, such as Wimbledon and U.S. Open and Roland Garros, regardless of overall percentages for the year as a whole.
    This makes it difficult to rate the closed pro era, for example, where someone like Kramer would win the world pro head-to-head title in 1950 over Gonzales handily, yet lose badly to Gonzales in the major tournament at Philadelphia...who was the better player? I would choose Gonzales.
     
    #87
  38. Srinivas

    Srinivas New User

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    Pancho Gonzales probably the greatest Wooden racket tennis player of all time but to call him Goat of Tennis is too much exaggeration.
    Federer, Sampras are definitely greatest modern day tennis players and have to be rated higher than Gonzales or Laver.
     
    #88
  39. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    #89
  40. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Pancho is a boss. Out of all the other pre-open era players, he is the One that I think would be the best to transition to this era of tennis. Size, power, skill, athleticism, desire. He's got it. Top 5 player ever no doubt.
     
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    #90
  41. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    Very possibly true.
     
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  42. Legend of Borg

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  43. BeatlesFan

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    Many of the old timers say that Poncho was the best they ever saw. I know Jack Kramer always beat that drum, and no doubt Gonzales was a tremendous competitor. But for what's it worth, tennis greatness is measured by slam results and tennis resume. People can drone on all they want about Fed's H2H versus Rafa, but few can argue Fed has the greatest tennis resume of any player ever. Some will argue for Laver because of the 2 CYGS, but Gonzales won't be in the discussion of GOAT because his results don't warrant it.

    It's fine for fans to tout whatever play they want as GOAT, but Poncho's career achievements simply are not sufficiently commanding in comparison to the all-time greats. He was one hell of a player with an insatiable will, but that's not enough to be anointed GOAT.
     
    #93
  44. Steve132

    Steve132 Professional

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    Gonzalez had great results in the pro tours and tournaments of the 1950's and early 1960's, and he was regarded as the world's No. 1 player for seven or eight years. We cannot make direct comparisons between his achievements and those of Open era greats because the structure of the game was very different in those days (for example, as a pro he was not allowed to take part in the "official" majors). I do think, however, that we know enough to say that he is one of the three or four plausible GOAT candidates in the game's history.
     
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  45. pc1

    pc1 Legend

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    I agree with you Steve. Pancho Gonzalez won seven World Championship tours over the likes of Hoad, Segura, Sedgman, Gimeno, Cooper, Trabert, Olmedo and Rosewall. He won at least 17 classic and Pro Majors plus some tournaments like the prestigious Howard Hughes which arguably were as strong a major. He won Howard Hughes tournaments after he turned forty! I never could understand the logic of some experts because Gonzalez played World Class Tennis for decades at a super level and yet players like McEnroe, Federer, Nadal, Connors and many others are anointed GOAT after just a couple of years. No player could possibly catch Pancho Gonzalez in achievements in let's say just a decade or a bit more. That's can't be done.
     
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    #95
  46. harryz

    harryz Semi-Pro

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    I remember watching Sampras in his prime with my dad, who was a contemporary of Gonzales. I asked him about Gonzales more than once, as he had seen him live a few times. Without hesitating, he said that Gonzales was hungry, quick as a big cat, powerful and relentless-- the best player he had ever seen. I can't help but wonder how many on this board or participating on this thread actually saw him play.... And yet some have the temerity to pontificate anyway...

    Interesting to me that Allen Fox, Brad Gilbert's coach and a great tennis strategist, agrees that Gonzales was the greatest player. And he played on the tour in the era of the great Aussies and knew and played against many at a pretty damned good level.

    Harry Z
     
    #96
  47. Srinivas

    Srinivas New User

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    1920s-Bill Tilden
    1930-Don Budge
    1940s-Jack kramer
    1950s-Pancho Gonzales
    1960s-Rod Laver
    Gonzales dominated his decade better than rest of the four mentioned.
     
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