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Published 10/22/2012
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All-American Monday - Pancho Segura

Pancho Segura (1943-95)

Coral Gables, Fla. - Born on June 20, 1921 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, Francisco "Pancho" Segura suffered from rickets as a youth. Restricted from playing some sports, Segura took to tennis and developed what the late Jack Kramer would once call "the single greatest shot in the history of tennis" - a two-handed forehand.

Segura would enter the University of Miami on a tennis scholarship while Gardnar Mulloy was at the helm of the program. On November 4, 1943, Segura, the fourth ranking amateur in the United States at the time, met the world's No. 1 professional tennis player J. Donald Budge in an exhibition match. After dropping the first set 3-6, Segura came back to dominate the next two sets (6-0, 6-1) to win the match.

As a Hurricane, he won three straight NCAA singles championships from 1943-45. Segura also won the U.S. Indoor Title of 1946 and the U.S. Clay Court of 1944. He was a U.S. semifinalist from 1942-45 and a member of the U.S. Top Ten six times, No. 3 in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

Click here to read about Segura's USPTA Induction

In 1950, three years after turning pro, Segura won the U.S. Pro Tennis Championship singles title over Frank Kovacs. In 1951 and 1952, Segura defeated Pancho Gonzalez claiming his second and third consecutive singles titles. In 1950 and 1952, Segura was the World Co-No. 1 player. 

In addition to his singles titles, Segura won the U.S. Pro Tennis Championship doubles title with Kramer in 1948 and 1955 and the 1954 and 1958 titles with Gonzalez.

Click here to view Segura's International HOF page

In 1968, Segura partnered with Alex Olmedo and entered the doubles of the first open Wimbledon. In the second round they won the longest doubles match of Wimbeldon's open era, 94 games, over Abe Segal and Gordon Forbes (32-30, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4). The 62-game set was the longest ever.

Due to his astonishing career, Segura would be elected into three Halls of Fame. The University of Miami's hall in 1970, the International Tennis' hall in 1984, and the USTPA's hall in 2012.

Name Year(s)   Name Year(s)
Mike Belkin 1965 Rod Mandelstam 1962-63
Andrew Burrow 1987 Tavo Martinez 1976
Pat Cramer 1968-70 Jerry Moss 1958-59
Luigi D'Argord 2006-07 Srjdan Muskatirovic 1994-95
Eddie Dibbs 1971-72 Joaquim Rasgado 1974-75
John Donar 1987-90   Raz Reid 1971-72
John Eagleton 1976-77   Ivan Rodrigo 1997
Conny Falk 1989   Mike Russell 1997
Alvaro Fillol 1975   Pancho Segura 1943-45
Jaime Fillol 1967-68   Christo Steyn 1982-83
Luis Garcia 1969-71   Carl Sundberg 2008
John Geraghty 1977   Daniel Vallverdu 2006-09
John Hammill


  Todd Widom 2002-03
Gil Kovalski 1995