Richard "Pancho" Gonzales

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by joehight, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. joehight

    joehight New User

    Nov 2, 2004
    I saw the documentary film on Richard Gonzales. Not very high quality film, the lighting was't very good in many of the scenes, but it managed to come across almost as a purposely made film noir genre film. I enjoyed the film as part of a history lesson on this game. Gonzales came off as a soft spoken man, but one who may have had a chip on his shoulder. As I understand it, he could be considered a contender for the greatest player ever, certainly among the top ten, probably the top five. Too bad he played his tennis mostly prior to the open era. Wasn't allowed to play Davis Cup, or the majors during his prime. One of the first to play a professional touring circuit.

    Any of you have any stories you've read or heard about this great tennis player? Any of you actually see Gonzales play in person?
  2. Aus Mosis

    Aus Mosis New User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Pancho had one of the biggest serves in the history of the game, thats all i know about him
  3. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo Talk Tennis Guru

    Feb 18, 2004
    Wasn't Pancho Gonzales 43 when that documentary on TTC was filmed in 1969? And he still drilled the defending US Open champ, Ashe in straight sets. Played a tourney in Cleveland? where players only received one serve and he still won it.
  4. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

    Feb 22, 2004
    I know someone who saw the travelling tennis group (they had to organize their own tour to make a living ) which consisted of Laver, Rosewall, Kramer, either Segura or Gonzalez. They would travel to obscure venues in N. America and sometimes play in hockey arenas that had lines painted on them. I know they were in Quebec City in the late 60's, playing outdoors to a small crowd who even them realized they were seeing something great. I don't think people then wre so much into analysing what they were seeing. That's all I know.
  5. Xevoius

    Xevoius Semi-Pro

    Jun 27, 2004
    I saw Pancho's son play about 4 months ago. It was very inspiring seeing someone in their older age hit such solid groundstrokes.
  6. Metzler

    Metzler Rookie

    May 2, 2004
    He learned to play when you had to keep one foot in contact with the ground while serving, even so generated tremendous speed. Yes, I did see him play - continental grip with index finger not spread -the rest of his game was not based on power, but more Rosewall-like precision - not a big spin player off the ground like Laver or a "big" volleyer like Newcombe. Great with the lob and scrambling. Reached the semis at the French at age 41!
    Excellent chapter on him in Tennis: Styles and Stylists, out-of-print by Metzler whose name I have been presumptuous enough to use as a screen name.
  7. Kirko

    Kirko Hall of Fame

    Feb 18, 2004
    I've seen him a few times when I lived in Lad Vegas. Saw him hit with David Pate a top twenty player from the mid eighties. Saw hi win the Howard Hughes Open in 69 . Talked to him once also kind of he asked me how I was doing . Nice guy I thought.
  8. joe sch

    joe sch Legend

    Feb 19, 2004
    Hotel CA
    Pancho was one of the best tennis players ever because of his wins over 2 decades of playing the best players in the world. If Pancho had played in the open era, he would surely be near the top players list. Roy Emerson had a dozen slams and was the player that Pete Sampras just topped but Roy was actually 0-12 against Pancho. Panch won his last open title when he was 41. Pancho dominated every tennis player for over a decade during the 1950s and early 1960s, including 12 US pro and 8 English pro titles, and all the exhibition matches.
    There are lots of interesting stories regarding Panchos exploits but I think his record pretty much speaks for itself.
  9. baseliner

    baseliner Professional

    Mar 1, 2004
    Pancho was a warrior to the end. When open tennis came in he was 40 and past his prime. He never gave an inch. An example of his playing the angles was he cut the pockets out of his tennis shorts. He said it saved weight when he sweated! I saw him play severa times including his redord length match with Charlie Pasarell at Wimbledon. This was before the tie break. Someone with a better memory than I, please post the score. All I remember was Pasarell won the first set (26-24 I think) and a long second set. Pancho came back and won in 5 unbelievable sets.

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