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Alan Abraham Segal (23 October 1930 – 4 April 2016) was a South African tennis player.

Abe Segal
Full nameAlan Abraham Segal
Country (sports)South Africa South Africa
Born(1930-10-23)23 October 1930
Johannesburg, South Africa
Died4 April 2016(2016-04-04) (aged 85)
Cape Town, South Africa
PlaysLeft-handed (one-handed backhand)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (1954)
French Open3R (1955, 1957, 1961, 1962)
WimbledonQF (1964)
US Open4R (1956)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenQF (1954)
French OpenF (1958, 1963)
WimbledonSF (1963)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Australian OpenQF (1964)
WimbledonQF (1964)
Team competitions
Davis CupFEu (1965)

Early life and careerEdit

He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was Jewish.[1][2]

During the 1950s and 1960s, he was the doubles partner of Gordon Forbes. Together, they were considered one of the best doubles teams in the world.[3]

He was critical of South Africa's policy of Apartheid.[4] Alex Metreveli and István Gulyás both refused to compete in the 1964 Wimbledon against Segal, a white South African, because of the country's policy.[5] In response, black tennis player Arthur Ashe said he would play Segal any time, because he did not think politics had a place in sports.[6] Weeks later Segal played Ashe in Illinois, beating him.[6] This prompted the International Lawn Tennis Federation to pass a resolution prohibiting racial discrimination and withdrawing from a tournament except for "health or bereavement" reasons.[7]

In 1951 he won the singles title at the Irish Open defeating Guy Jackson in the final in straight sets.

He played for the South African Davis Cup team in 19 ties in the years 1955, 57, 59, 61-65 and compiled a record of 24 wins and 14 losses.

After retiring from tennis, Segal took up painting.[8] In 2008 he published a memoir titled Hey Big Boy!.[9][10]

Segal died of cancer on 4 April 2016 at the age of 85.[11][12]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Doubles (2 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1958 French Championships Clay   Robert Howe   Ashley Cooper
  Neale Fraser
6–3, 6–8, 3–6, 5–7
Runner-up 1963 French Championships Clay   Gordon Forbes   Roy Emerson
  Manuel Santana
2–6, 4–6, 4–6


  1. ^ Day by Day in Jewish Sports History - Bob Wechsler - Google Books
  2. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heroes: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports ... - Peter S. Horvitz - Google Books
  3. ^ Plimpton, George (1992). The Norton Book of Sports. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 205. ISBN 978-0-393-03040-2.
  4. ^ Arthur Ashe: Tennis and Justice in the Civil Rights Era - Eric Allen Hall - Google Books
  5. ^ Blacks at the Net: Black Achievement in the History of Tennis - Sundiata A. Djata - Google Books
  6. ^ a b Jet - Google Books
  7. ^ Djata, Sundiata A. (2008). Blacks at the net: Black achievement in the history of tennis. Syracuse University Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8156-0898-1.
  8. ^ Bills, Peter (25 March 2009). "Abe Segal & Gordon Forbes: 'sport was all fun and now it almost isn't at all'". The Independent. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Hey, big boy! : [a legacy of laughs by an ex No. 1]". Worldcat.
  10. ^ "Tennis KGB Style" (PDF). Sports Illustrated. August 2008.
  11. ^ "Death of SA tennis legend Abe Segal a great loss". Tennis South Africa. 5 April 2016. Archived from the original on 9 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Tennis legend Abe Segal dies". Supersport. 5 April 2016.

External linksEdit