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TOP FIVE MOST INFLUENTIAL MOMENTS IN HISPANIC TENNIS HISTORY

October 12, 2005 03:36 PM

The USTA announced that Richard "Pancho" Gonzalez's men's singles title at the 1948 U.S. Championships was named the top accomplishment in Hispanic tennis history.  Gonzalez, of Mexican descent, became the first Hispanic man to win a Grand Slam championship when he defeated Eric Sturgess in 1948 at the U.S. Championships.

A pioneer, Gonzalez blazed a trail for Hispanic athletes becoming one of the first Latinos to play a major sport, opening the doors for others to follow.  During his career, Gonzalez became the first Hispanic to win back-to-back U.S. singles titles in 1948 and 1949 and lead the United States to the Davis Cup title in 1949. He also won doubles titles at the French Championships and Wimbledon in 1949.

Guillermo Vilas' record 46-straight match winning streak in 1977, which included a triumphant victory over Jimmy Connors in the men's singles final at the 1977 US Open, was elected the   No. 2 moment.  Gabriela Sabatini's 1990 US Open win against the two-time US Open Champion Steffi Graf was named the No. 3 spot on the list.

The Top 5 Moments were selected by a Blue Ribbon USTA panel of former players, commentators, coaches, administrators and journalists including, Ricardo Acuna, Kristina Brandi, Gigi Fernandez, Mary Joe Fernandez, Manny Guillen, Sadiel Lebron, Angel Lopez, Francisco Ruiz, Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, and Nube Urgiles.


TOP FIVE MOMENTS IN HISPANIC TENNIS HISTORY

1.  1948 - Richard "Pancho" Gonzalez of the United States becomes the first Hispanic man to win a major championship, winning the men's singles title at the 1948 U.S. Championships.  He won a second title in 1949.

2.  1977 - Guillermo Vilas of Argentina wins a men's open-era record 46-straight matches in 1977, which includes his upset victory over Jimmy Connors in the men's singles final at the 1977 US Open.

3.  1990 - Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina ends the two-year US Open reign of Steffi Graf at the US Open, beating the seemingly invincible German to win the 1990 US Open women's singles title.

4.  1996 - Dominican born Mary Joe Fernandez and Puerto Rican born Gigi Fernandez win consecutive gold medals in women's doubles for the United States at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

5.  2004 - Nicolas Massu and Fernando Gonzalez of Chile dominate the men's tennis competition at the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens, Greece, with Massu winning gold medals in both singles and doubles, while Gonzalez wins the doubles gold with Massu and also wins the bronze medal in men's singles. The gold medals are the first ever Olympic gold medals for Chile.

 

 

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