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Richard Alonzo Gonzales

Richard Alonzo Gonzales American tennis player who won the U.S. professional championship in men’s singles eight times, seven consecutively (1953–59, 1961). Born into a Mexican American family, Gonzales as a youth had no access to tennis clubs and was largely a self-taught player. In 1943 he achieved top ranking in boys’ tennis in southern California. Before turning professional in 1949, he won six major amateur championships. His speed, agility, and aggressive play, which was complemented by colourful and outspoken behaviour, won him a large following. In addition to his eight singles titles, Gonzales, as a professional, won the U.S. men’s doubles championship five times (1953–54, 1957–58, and 1969, with various partners). In 1969, at age 41, he defeated Charlie Pasarell in a 112-game match that was then the longest in Wimbledon history; it was not surpassed until 2010.

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