Drawing on interviews with many in the game who knew or admired Pancho, Caroline Seebohm provides a close-up picture of the unlikely pro as his career first emerged in Ecuador and then developed further in the United States during the 1940s, where he broke down social and political prejudices with his charm, naturalness, and brilliance on the court.
Little Pancho follows Segura from the University of Miami, where he won three consecutive NCAA championships (still a record), to his time on the U.S. professional tennis tour. On the pro tour of that time, Segura and his fellow players struggled to earn a living and find acceptance in the traditional, sometimes elitist tennis world, which scorned “professionals” as outcasts. Little Pancho shows us Segura when he quit the professional tour to become a coach at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, working with movie stars such as Charlton Heston, Barbra Streisand, and Lauren Bacall. And finally, we hear for the first time from some of the later champions Segura coached, including Jimmy Connors. This history of tennis in the midcentury also is the inspiring story of how one poor Latino kid, through sheer grit, grace, and talent, changed the face of the sport forever.
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About the Author
Caroline Seebohm is the author of numerous books, including No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree and the novel The Innocents. She is a keen tennis player, but her only title is the singles championship at her boarding school in England. She now lives on the Delaware River in New Jersey.
Table of Contents
Prologue: A Match to Remember
1. Miracle in Ecuador
2. The Education of a Tennis Prodigy
3. Hasta Luego!
4. Love On and Off the Court
5. The Professional Circus Act
6. A New Contender
7. Big Pancho and Little Pancho
8. Playing Hard, Playing Tough
9. Coach to the Stars
10. Happy Days in Beverly Hills
11. Jimbo Rules!
12. Lows and Highs
13. Staying Loose at La Costa
14. “Tennis Is My Life”
Appendix: From The Tennis Partner, by Abraham Verghese