What the papers said about . . . Pancho Gonzales

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The Independent Online
"Tennis yesterday lost one of the Godfathers of brilliant play and bad behaviour when Pancho Gonzales died at the age of 67. He remained a tennis fanatic to the end, watching Wimbledon on television from his hospital bed in Las Vegas and rooting for his one-time pupil, Andre Agassi." Mail

"Some were more successful in collecting prizes of prestige. Others translated winning more skilfully into personal popularity. But no one in the history of tennis blended charisma with court craft as persuasively as Pancho Gonzales." Independent

"One of his last appearances in Britain evoked strange echoes in a Wimbledon still muttering about Jeff Tarango's outburst. During a line-call dispute during the London Grass Court Championships at Queen's Club, he demanded to see the referee, the redoubtable Bea Seal. 'Either that linesman goes or I go,' he said. 'The linesman stays,' replied Ms Seal. So Gonzales packed his bags and left." Guardian

"A swarthy, often scowling presence on the courts, Gonzales was 6ft 3in tall, weighed 13st and was famously excitable. In Boston, during a touch-and-go third set against Ken Rosewall of Australia, he smashed a ball at a heckler's head and stalked off court. His Latin looks and hot temper made him a popular but controversial figure. Dogmatic, cocky, touchy and ruthless, he was one of the first players to smash his racket to pieces in a fit of anger." Times

"It was a first-round match of epic proportions, spanning two days. Gonzales, by then a silver-haired grandfather, stood his ground like a wounded lion against Pasarell - 16 years his junior - and with extraordinary defiance, cunning and courage survived seven match points to win the contest 22-24, 1-6, 16-14, 6-3, 11-9." Telegraph

"Conflict seemed to be at his core from the beginning. When he was 15, Gonzales told the Southern California Tennis Association he was going to drop out of school to concentrate on his tennis. They told him that leaving the classroom would be unacceptable, but Pancho would not be swayed. He was suspended for a year from all competition." Independent