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Richard "Pancho" Gonzales Biography

Taught Himself To Play, Prevailed In The Touring Circuit, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Further Information


American tennis player

The Mexican American tennis player Richard "Pancho" Alonzo Gonzales had only two major singles titles to his credit, yet he was considered by many to be one of the most influential players of the late 1940s and the 1950s. After winning consecutive singles titles at the U.S. Championships (later known as the U.S. Open), Gonzales joined the professional touring circuit—a move than banned him from the major tournaments but that proved him to be one of the most formidable players in the country. During his career, Gonzales often faced racism and discrimination in the predominantly white world of his chosen sport. Developing a tough skin and a defiant, lone-wolf attitude, he became infamous among his peers, but won over tennis fans with his deft game and larger-than-life charisma.

Sketch by Wendy Kagan

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Famous Sports StarsTennis