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Cathie Currie 11-14-2012 10:09 AM

30s-40s high-level player overcame childhood disabling leg burns - South American?
The player, who grew up in South America, had suffered third-degree burns on his legs when he was a child. Despite his injuries he became a highly ranked international player. I assume he was amateur, given the years of play. I was told he also was charmingly witty, a bit of an imp on the court . . . but that may have been my father's personal opinion. He was often compared to Wilma Rudolph with her history of overcoming polio.

I hope someone can tell me who this player is. When I was a child, my father -- a 30s-40s ranked amateur -- told me about his playing here in the states. I vaguely remember reading an article about him for a school paper.

TW suggested Pancho Segura as one possibility due to early rickets, and the characterization -- perhaps I miss-remember the story.

I googled and wikied -- haven't found him.

I am writing a chapter on athletes who have overcome impairments, and would appreciate -- and acknowledge -- your help in identifying or correcting this story.

Please post here, or send to:

Thank you,
Cathie M. Currie, Ph.D.
New York, NY

Mustard 11-14-2012 07:30 PM

It could be Pancho Segura, a very good amateur player in the 1940s (4-time US Championships semi finalist) and one of the top professional players of the 1950s, winning 3 US Pro titles in a row on 3 different surfaces. He was a crowd favourite, certainly, had rickets when he was a kid, and almost died after being born prematurely. He's still alive, and 91 years old.

His wiki page is below:

Cathie Currie 11-14-2012 08:42 PM

Hi Mustard:
The TW people had suggested Sigura, and the personality issue fits my Dad's description. I had read the wiki pages on him last week, and got worried that maybe my memory of the story is faulty. But I specifically remember the third-degree burns in the article--muscle destruction. Or perhaps the article was wrong!!

But I could use Segura's story instead of the one I am searching for. I did not know about his premie birth. And yes, I had noted that he was 'only' in his 90's!!! He's still a young man!!!

Thanks for your help. I'll keep looking for another week, and then if I don't find 'my guy' I'll go with Segura.

Does anyone know where Segura lives?

Mustard 11-14-2012 08:59 PM

He used to be in Beverly Hills, California. I don't know if he still lives there.

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