Pancho Gonzales

robow7

Professional
I was always amazed at how simple his service motion was. No wasted movement and he boomed it and that was in the day before your feet could leave the ground.
 

Capulin Zurdo

Hall of Fame
Exceptionally smooth serve from him, if not the smoothest. Again, I'm amazed he was able to compete up until his early forties.
 

robow7

Professional
I'm amazed he was able to compete up until his early forties.
Interestingly enough, I once heard him interviewed as he got older and contrary to what many say, that the first thing to go is the legs, Pancho said the first thing to go was the eyes (the ability to see the ball to his racquet)
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I was always amazed at how simple his service motion was. No wasted movement and he boomed it and that was in the day before your feet could leave the ground.
Vic Braden wrote in his Tennis 2000 book that he was convinced Gonzalez could serve regularly at around the 140 mph area. He wrote how smooth the service motion was.
 

Vensai

Professional
Pancho Gonzales possessed great technique even in his forties. It is not difficult to see why he dominated when he was younger.
 

kiki

Banned
Flawless,smooth volleys and groundies,very fast for his size,great reach at the net and legendary never say die atittude..
Oh,and the best ever serve,by the way
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
Agree fully with everyone. A truly special player. Should ve named among the greats o all times for sure.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
Agree fully with everyone. A truly special player. Should ve named among the greats o all times for sure.
The thing that some have pointed out is that his smooth serve took so little out of him that he could serve bombs late in long matches. He would be terrifying in his prime at Wimbledon.
 

Prabhanjan

Professional
I had heard about him that he never lost the serve when serving either for the set or match. Any confirmation? Thanks in advance.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
I had heard about him that he never lost the serve when serving either for the set or match. Any confirmation? Thanks in advance.
That was his reputation but somehow I can't imagine it never happening even for a super player like him.
 

Vensai

Professional
That was his reputation but somehow I can't imagine it never happening even for a super player like him.
Allen Fox made that quote I believe. He also mentioned that it probably did happen, but he just never saw it happen personally.
 

urban

Legend
He lost a few close matches with the other Pancho Segura. In 1957, at Wembley he had 4 setpoints in the first set and lost the match in straight sets, i don't know, if he was serving.
 

krosero

Legend
He did get broken when trying to serve out a match at Forest Hills against Rosewall, in June '58. He went on to lose the set and had to play a decisive third set, but eventually won the match.

New York Times:

Richard (Pancho) Gonzales and Kenneth Rosewall fought for an hour and twenty-five minutes yesterday in a thirty-six-game opening set before 8,000 onlookers in the Forest Hills Stadium.

Thanks to the weight of his service, which extricated him from a 0-40 deficit in the fourteenth game, Gonzales, the big, black-haired world champion from Los Angeles won the set and eventually, the match at 19-17, 5-7, 6-4.

His victory was due to his unshakeable fighting qualities and concentration against the entrancing artistry of the little master from Australia from the backhand in returning service and dispatching volleys.

The largest crowd that has turned out for Jack Kramer's $15,000 Tournament of Champions roared in appreciation of the play as two grimly determined antagonists fought tooth and nail.

The most enthusiastic applause and hurrahs were for the little man who was standing up so indomitably and hitting overheads with all the savagery of Gonzales.

Rosewall Scores Break

The loudest roars came in the twentieth game when Rosewall, after faltering for the first time in his volleying to lose his service in the nineteenth, broke through with two superb backhand returns of service.

That was an unnerving setback for the champion. Thereafter, Gonzales strained to stay on even terms, despite the superiority of his service, as Rosewall won game after game at 15 on his own service.

At long last came the breaking point in Rosewall's resistance. His return of service weakened in the thirty-fourth game and he lost his volleying touch in the thirty-fifth. The deciding break was effected at love. When Gonzales served out the set with two final whistling aces, which were followed by prolonged applause for both players, it seemed that Rosewall was through.

It seemed so all the more as Gonzales won the first two games of the second set quickly against a faltering opponent. But there were more thrills in store.

Australian Rallies

Trailing by 3-5 and apparently discouraged and resigned to defeat, Rosewall suddenly caught on fire. The stadium was in an uproar again as he won the next four games. He saved match point in the ninth and broke through in the tenth with his marvelous backhand returns of service and again in the twelfth with his passing shots.

In the final set Gonzales broke service in the opening game, as he did in the other two, and that decided matters.​
So he also was broken when serving for the first set at 10-9, though he eventually won the set.
 
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krosero

Legend
On the H2H tour against Trabert in '56, Pancho lost at Palm Beach on clay, 12-10, 6-0, having served for the first set at 9-8.

Palm Beach Daily News:

An estimated 750 tennis fans were given a rare tennis treat Saturday at the Everglades Club when Tony Trabert defeated Richard (Pancho) Gonzales, 12-10, 6-0, for his 13th victory in 59 attempts.

The Cincinnati netter, who won the club’s amateur event last year, scored a pair of firsts with his win over the Professional champion. It marked the first time Gonzales had lost on an outdoor court, and the first “love” set he had lost to Trabert in their 59 matches....

Tony jumped to a 2-love [lead] and was ahead all through the set, except when Gonzales broke his serve and took a 9-8 advantage.

Most of the games reached the point limit, with half of the games reaching deuce once or more times. In the 17th game which almost gave Gonzales a victory, the two battled through eight deuce points.

Both recorded love games, Trabert in the 15th and Gonzales in the 14th.

Despite Gonzales’ court speed and better net play Trabert gained advantage with his deep ground strokes.

Pancho held a 24 to 18 margin in the placements, but in the errors’ columns, Tony had 36 outs, and 18 nets compared to Gonzales, 43 outs and 28 nets.

After rallying to break Gonzales’ serve in the 18th game to even the match Trabert held his serve and broke Pancho’s in the final game.

The composition court which cut down Gonzales’ blazing serve, the high wind were considered big factors in Trabert’s victory.

The second set was a breeze for Tony as he committed only eight errors, while forcing Gonzales to 16 and scored nine placements to Gonzales’ three.
 

hoodjem

G.O.A.T.
He did get broken when trying to serve out a match at Forest Hills against Rosewall, in June '58. (In that service game he reached match point.) He went on to lose the set and had to play a decisive third set, but eventually won the match.

New York Times:
Richard (Pancho) Gonzales and Kenneth Rosewall fought for an hour and twenty-five minutes yesterday in a thirty-six-game opening set before 8,000 onlookers in the Forest Hills Stadium.

Thanks to the weight of his service, which extricated him from a 0-40 deficit in the fourteenth game, Gonzales, the big, black-haired world champion from Los Angeles won the set and eventually, the match at 19-17, 5-7, 6-4.

His victory was due to his unshakeable fighting qualities and concentration against the entrancing artistry of the little master from Australia from the backhand in returning service and dispatching volleys.

The largest crowd that has turned out for Jack Kramer's $15,000 Tournament of Champions roared in appreciation of the play as two grimly determined antagonists fought tooth and nail.

The most enthusiastic applause and hurrahs were for the little man who was standing up so indomitably and hitting overheads with all the savagery of Gonzales.

Rosewall Scores Break

The loudest roars came in the twentieth game when Rosewall, after faltering for the first time in his volleying to lose his service in the nineteenth, broke through with two superb backhand returns of service.

That was an unnerving setback for the champion. Thereafter, Gonzales strained to stay on even terms, despite the superiority of his service, as Rosewall won game after game at 15 on his own service.

At long last came the breaking point in Rosewall's resistance. His return of service weakened in the thirty-fourth game and he lost his volleying touch in the thirty-fifth. The deciding break was effected at love. When Gonzales served out the set with two final whistling aces, which were followed by prolonged applause for both players, it seemed that Rosewall was through.

It seemed so all the more as Gonzales won the first two games of the second set quickly against a faltering opponent. But there were more thrills in store.

Australian Rallies

Trailing by 3-5 and apparently discouraged and resigned to defeat, Rosewall suddenly caught on fire. The stadium was in an uproar again as he won the next four games. He saved match point in the ninth and broke through in the tenth with his marvelous backhand returns of service and again in the twelfth with his passing shots.

In the final set Gonzales broke service in the opening game, as he did in the other two, and that decided matters.​
So he also was broken when serving for the first set at 10-9, though he eventually won the set.
Of course the backhand was Rosewall's best stroke, but I do wonder if the backhand service return was not his best shot.

It would seem that you either aced him or hit to his forehand--never to the backhand (as Vijay Amitraj discovered to his peril in the quarters of the 1974 USO).
 
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pc1

G.O.A.T.
Of course the backhand was Rosewall's best stroke, but I do wonder if the backhand service return was not his best shot.

It would seem that you either aced him or hit to his forehand--never to the backhand (as Vijay discovered to his peril).
Rosewall had a very good forehand return but not great. Gimeno pointed out in an article that Rosewall hit the ball far earlier on his backhand as opposed to his forehand so the backhand was clearly a better overall shot in his opinion. Of course the danger is that you can groove the forehand return so occasional I think they have to mix it up and risk hitting to the backhand. Laver tried that in the 1972 WCT finals and paid for it. Rosewall hit two fantastic backhand returns, the second one was a rocket (no pun intend) that zoomed pass Laver.
 

robow7

Professional
I've know I've said this before but even after watching slow motion of Rosewall's backhand return, I still can't figure out how he hit it so consistently with so much pop. Lord the lefties used to eat me up in the ad when they would swing it wide and I did my best to try and copy Rosewall's neutralizer......... never happened. Damn him :)
 
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