Richard Alonzo Gonzales

Happy Birthday to Richard Alonzo Gonzales, nicknamed “Pancho”, apparently because his non-Hispanic childhood friends did not know any other Mexican names.  Gonzales’ parents immigrated to the US from Chihuahua, Mexico. His father worked as a house painter and his mother as a seamstress.  His mother bought him his first tennis racket for 51 cents.  Gonzalez was an eight-time World Pro Tennis champ.  In his first round at Wimbledon, the 41 year old Gonzales was matched against 25 year old Charlie Pasarell from Puerto Rico.  Gonzales and Pasarell played the then longest match in Wimbledon history, for five hours and 20 minutes.  One of Gonzales’ books is, “Tennis Begins at Forty: A Guide for All Players Who Don’t Have Wrists of Steel or a Cannonball Serve, Don’t Always Rush the Net or Have a Devastating Overhead, but Want to Win”, demonstrating that there is life after 40.  (Photo by UPI/Corbis-Bettmann)

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