Pancho Segura

pc1

G.O.A.T.
#1
Pancho Segura has always held a particular fascination to me. He is clearly one of the people most instrumental in having tennis survive and thrive in the manner it does today.

He was also a great player with a forehand that many have called the great single stroke in the history of tennis. He was unusual in that he had a one handed backhand and a two handed righty forehand which was similar to Jimmy Connors' two handed lefty backhand. Those who have seen both shots have said that Segura's two handed forehand was the far superior shot because he could do anything with the shot. He could put away any remotely short ball, he could lob, dink, hit with great power and with super disguise. I was speaking to a former top player recently and I asked him about the Segura forehand. This player said it was the best forehand he ever seen and this player faced Newcombe, Laver, Gimeno, Gonzalez, Hoad, Fletcher, Trabert and has also seen Lendl, Borg, Nastase, Federer, Nadal, Vilas, Courier.

What was impressive about his opinion is that in discussing topics with this player I have found him pretty impartial about eras. He does not seem to favor his own era over others, at least it seems to me that way. He thinks the world of today's players yet he was so sure and positive about how great the forehand of Segura's was. I was truly amazed how there seemed no doubt in his mind about it.

Experts like Vines, Riggs, Kramer have called the Segura forehand the best single stroke ever. Laver, who faced Segura only when Segura was over 40 called it the best forehand he faced and we know Laver faced many great players with great forehands over the years.

Of course I cannot forget what a great coach and teacher Pancho Segura was. He was the one who taught and coached the great Jimmy Connors. Segura was and I guess still is a brilliant tennis mind.

Segura defeated players like Frank Parker, Frank Sedgman (barely), Rex Hartwig, Ken McGregor and others on head to head tours. He won the US Pro three years in a row and won great tournaments like the Masters in Los Angeles in 1958 defeating greats like Gonzalez, Hartwig, Hoad, Trabert, Sedgman and Rosewall. He was unbeaten with a 6-0 record in that round robin ahead of Gonzalez, Rosewall and Sedgman who had 4-2 records, Hartwig who was 1-5 and Hoad who was 0-6.

Despite the excellence of the Ecuadorian player Andres Gomez I think Pancho Segura is clearly the best Ecuadorian player ever and an all time great.

Please add any comments on Segura. I hope @krosero @BobbyOne @Dan Lobb and others would add any comments on this.
 
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#4
I have it too. I sometimes speak of Segura's Connors. In addition to seeing his play, some of my view is based on his comments about him in this book.

I've read so many interviews with him over the years. Just incredibly insightful. Never saw him play, but just love to hear or read about him talking about the game.

Still going, huh? I would think he's over 90 by now. Good for him. I just read that Frank Deford passed away.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
#5
I have it too. I sometimes speak of Segura's Connors. In addition to seeing his play, some of my view is based on his comments about him in this book.

I've read so many interviews with him over the years. Just incredibly insightful. Never saw him play, but just love to hear or read about him talking about the game.

Still going, huh? I would think he's over 90 by now. Good for him. I just read that Frank Deford passed away.
Yes I started a thread on Deford in odds and ends. He was an excellent knowledgeable tennis writer.

I was talking to Segura a few years ago at the old Shelter Rock club and he said he had a good forehand. That's like saying Pete Sampras had a decent serve. Talk about understatement! LOL!
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
#7
Here's a few seconds of Segura against Gonzalez. It's not much but I like just before the end of the video the way Segura really drives the Gonzalez serve back. I don't know whether it even went in but I love the form and the power.

http://www.gettyimages.com/license/597591666

Here's a little more of Segura serving and a little of his forehand.
 
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#9
Wow, that video is from 2012. That makes about 95 now. And he says in it that he's in contact with Gardner Malloy who was 96 at the time. When did you last speak to him, PC? I'd love about 15 minutes with him.

I guess everyone will slow down at some point. IIRC, Bob Hope did his tv specials until he was about 90 then sort of disappeared.
 
#10
Pancho Segura has always held a particular fascination to me. He is clearly one of the people most instrumental in having tennis survive and thrive in the manner it does today.

He was also a great player with a forehand that many have called the great single stroke in the history of tennis. He was unusual in that he had a one handed backhand and a two handed righty forehand which was similar to Jimmy Connors' two handed lefty backhand. Those who have seen both shots have said that Segura's two handed forehand was the far superior shot because he could do anything with the shot. He could put away any remotely short ball, he could lob, dink, hit with great power and with super disguise. I was speaking to a former top player recently and I asked him about the Segura forehand. This player said it was the best forehand he ever seen and this player faced Newcombe, Laver, Gimeno, Gonzalez, Hoad, Fletcher, Trabert and has also seen Lendl, Borg, Nastase, Federer, Nadal, Vilas, Courier.

What was impressive about his opinion is that in discussing topics with this player I have found him pretty impartial about eras. He does not seem to favor his own era over others, at least it seems to me that way and thinks the world of today's players yet he was so sure and positive about how great the forehand of Segura's was. I was truly amazed how there seemed no doubt in his mind about it.

Experts like Vines, Riggs, Kramer have called the Segura forehand the best single stroke ever. Laver, who faced Segura only when Segura was over 40 called it the best forehand he faced and we know Laver faced many great players with great forehands over the years.

Of course I cannot forget what a great coach and teacher Pancho Segura was. He was the one who taught and coached the great Jimmy Connors. Segura was and I guess still is a brilliant tennis mind.

Segura defeated players like Frank Parker, Frank Sedgman (barely), Rex Hartwig, Ken McGregor and others on head to head tours. He won the US Pro three years in a row and won great tournaments like the Masters in Los Angeles in 1958 defeating greats like Gonzalez, Hartwig, Hoad, Trabert, Sedgman and Rosewall. He was unbeaten with a 6-0 record in that round robin ahead of Gonzalez, Rosewall and Sedgman who had 4-2 records, Hartwig who was 1-5 and Hoad who was 0-6.

Despite the excellence of the Ecuadorian player Andres Gomez I think Pancho Segura is clearly the best Ecuadorian player ever and an all time great.

Please add any comments on Segura. I hope @krosero @BobbyOne @Dan Lobb and others would add any comments on this.
I take it from your resume on Segura that you regard the 1951 Forest Hills Pro as the legitimate U.S. Pro for that year? I would agree with that.

Segura also won great tournaments in Britain (1953 Slazenger Pro, in a great final against Sedgman), and the 1957 White City Tournament of Champions, beating both Gonzales and Sedgman in perhaps his greatest ever showing.
 
#11
Wow, that video is from 2012. That makes about 95 now. And he says in it that he's in contact with Gardner Malloy who was 96 at the time. When did you last speak to him, PC? I'd love about 15 minutes with him.

I guess everyone will slow down at some point. IIRC, Bob Hope did his tv specials until he was about 90 then sort of disappeared.
It was a few years ago at the Shelter Rock Club on Long Island. There were a number of well known tennis players there for a celebration for the club. It was an interesting conversation but far too short for me.
 
#12

NonP

Hall of Fame
#14
I was talking to Segura a few years ago at the old Shelter Rock club and he said he had a good forehand. That's like saying Pete Sampras had a decent serve. Talk about understatement! LOL!
Another decent Segura-Sampras anecdote (good old Data's retelling speaks for itself so I'll just quote it here):

Yes, I posted a little remembrance of an interview I once saw with Segura in an other thread. He was being asked about Chang and Agassi, but he offhandedly mentioned that he though another boy, "Michael Sampras..." had a good future as well! LOL. And not everyone thought that at the time. Though Stan Smith was a big Sampras believer also.

Later, Agassi hired Segura for a few weeks as a coach, and subsequently canned him, while saying that Segura was trying to make him "think" too much, and that he was better when he didn't think! lol! Later Gilbert would revamp him with thinking, but he was either more open to it by then, or Gilbert's "thinking" was more suited to him. Either way, Segura certainly knows the game!
 
#15
The Segura Forehand looks like a left handers backhand. Chokes up on the handle with is right hand and then grabs the bottom of the grip with his left to execute this shot. Very unique looking, I can see how he helped Connors in his heyday as his forehand was similar to the JC backhand.
 

thrust

Hall of Fame
#16
Many years ago I saw a doubles match on TV. Segura was playing on one team, Gonzalez with someone else. At one point Gonzalez hit a shot, as hard as he could, directly at Segura who somehow returned it with a winning volley. The look of joy on Segura's face is something I have never forgotten, I was so happy for him. I have heard that Segura-Rosewall matches were a joy to watch, as both were great all court players and great competitors.
 

pc1

G.O.A.T.
#18
I wonder how Segura's level of play was at his best. Vines ranks him fifth all time after WW II in his book. Riggs ranks him I believe in the top ten as does Kramer. Gonzalez speaks highly of him also.

Riggs actually ranks Segura over himself!

In viewing videos of him I actually like the way he hits his slice backhand. Seems like a very solid shot despite the fact it pales beside his forehand. Volley seems very strong and Vines felt his volley was the second best next to Rosewall for a small player.
 
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