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Frank Andrew Parker (born Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski, January 31, 1916 – July 24, 1997), was a World No. 1 American male tennis player of Polish immigrant parents who was active in the 1930s and 1940s. He won four Grand Slam singles titles as well as three doubles titles. He was coached by famous Tennis Coach Mercer Beasley.

Frank Parker
Full nameFrank Andrew Parker
Country (sports) United States
Born(1916-01-31)January 31, 1916
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedJuly 24, 1997(1997-07-24) (aged 81)
San Diego, California, U.S.
Turned pro1949 (oct) (amateur tour from 1930)
Retired1971 (Hampton last tournament)
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1966 (member page)
Singles
Career record770-231 (76.9%) [1]
Career titles74 [2]
Highest rankingNo. 1 (1948, John Olliff)[3]
Grand Slam Singles results
French OpenW (1948, 1949)
WimbledonSF (1937)
US OpenW (1944, 1945)
Professional majors
US ProQF (8 times)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French OpenW (1949)
WimbledonW (1949)
US OpenW (1943)
Team competitions
Davis CupW (1937, 1948)

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Parker was born on January 31, 1916, in Milwaukee, as Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski and had three brothers and a sister.[4] He learnt to play tennis at age 10, hitting discarded tennis balls at the Milwaukee Town Club.[5] There he was discovered by the club coach Mercer Beasley who noticed his quickness and accuracy.[6] Aged 12 he won his first national title, the boys' indoor championship played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York.[4] At age 15 Paikowski become the national boys' champion in singles, defeating Gene Mako in the final, and a year later, aged 16, he won the national junior singles title as well as the singles title at the Canadian National Championships.[7][8] In 1933, when he was 17 he won the singles title at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships, defeating Gene Mako in the final in straight sets.[9][10]

CareerEdit

Parker is one of the few Americans to win both the French Championships (1948, 1949) and the U.S. Championships (1944, 1945).[a][11]

Parker became the singles champion at Cincinnati, then called the Tri–State Tennis Tournament in 1941 and was a four-time singles finalist (1932, 1933, 1938, 1939). He won the Canadian title in 1938. He was ranked World No. 1 in 1948 by John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph.[3]

Writing about Parker in his 1949 autobiography, Bobby Riggs, who had played Parker many times, says "Parker is a tough man to get past. Equipped with a wonderful all-court game, he plays intently and with classic form. His footwork is marvelous. You never see Frankie hitting the ball from an awkward position." [12] Jack Kramer, however, writing in his own autobiography, says "...even as a boy [Parker] had this wonderful slightly overspin forehand drive. Clean and hard. Then for some reason, Frankie's coach, Mercer Beasley, decided to change this stroke into a chop. It was obscene." It also impaired his game, particularly in preventing him from getting to the net, and Parker dropped in the rankings. A few years later, however, he worked hard to regain his original forehand and, according to Kramer, did indeed greatly improve his stroke. But it was never again as good as it had once been.[13] Parker was known for having a "deadpan" persona on court.[14]

Parker took part in the 1968 US Open at the age of 52, becoming the oldest player to compete in the US Open men's singles.[15] He also had the longest span in Grand Slam men's singles history (36 years from his first appearance at the U. S. Championships in 1932 to his last appearance in 1968).[16]

Between 1937 and 1948 Parker took part in seven Davis Cup ties with the US team and won the Davis Cup in 1937 and 1948.[17] He compiled a Davis Cup record of 12 wins and two losses.[18]

In October 1949 Parker signed a one-year contract with Bobby Riggs to become a professional tennis player.[19]

Parker was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1960.

Parker was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1966 and into the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

On March 17, 1938 Parker married Audrey Beasley who had previously divorced Parker's coach Mercer Beasley.[5][21] She became his adviser and tailored his tennis wardrobe.[5] His wife died in 1971 and in 1979 Parker retired from his position of salesman for a corrugated box company.[4][5]

Grand Slam finalsEdit

Singles (4 titles, 2 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Runner-up 1942 U.S. Championships Grass   Ted Schroeder 6–8, 5–7, 6–3, 6–4, 2–6
Winner 1944 U.S. Championships Grass   William Talbert 6–4, 3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Winner 1945 U.S. Championships Grass   William Talbert 14–12, 6–1, 6–2
Runner-up 1947 U.S. Championships Grass   Jack Kramer 6–4, 6–2, 1–6, 0–6, 3–6
Winner 1948 French Championships Clay   Jaroslav Drobný 6–4, 7–5, 5–7, 8–6
Winner 1949 French Championships Clay   Budge Patty 6–3, 1–6, 6–1, 6–4

Doubles (3 titles, 2 runner-ups)Edit

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1933 U.S. Championships Grass   Frank Shields   George Lott
  Lester Stoefen
13–11, 7–9, 7–9, 3–6
Winner 1943 U.S. Championships Grass   Jack Kramer   Bill Talbert
  David Freeman
7–5, 8–6, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1948 U.S. Championships Grass   Ted Schroeder   Gardnar Mulloy
  Bill Talbert
6–1, 7–9, 3–6, 6–3, 7–9
Winner 1949 French Championships Clay   Pancho Gonzales   Eustace Fannin
  Eric Sturgess
6–3, 8–6, 5–7, 6–3
Winner 1949 Wimbledon Grass   Pancho Gonzales   Gardnar Mulloy
  Ted Schroeder
6–4, 6–4, 6–2

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Other American players who have won singles titles at both the French and US Championshipba are Don Budge (1937), Don McNeill (1939-1940), Tony Trabert (1953-1954) and Andre Agassi (1994, 1999).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Frank Parker: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. TennismemSL. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  2. ^ Garcia, Gabriel. "Frank Parker: Career match record". thetennisbase.com. TennismemSL. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  3. ^ a b United States Lawn Tennis Association (1972). Official Encyclopedia of Tennis (First Edition), p. 426.
  4. ^ a b c Kenan Heise (July 25, 1997). "Wimbledon Doubles Titlist Frank Parker". Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ a b c d Richard Goldstein (July 28, 1997). "Frank Parker, U.S. Tennis Champion, 81". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Mercer Beasley". Sports Illustrated. July 29, 1957.
  7. ^ "Frank Parker Wins National Boys' Tennis Title". The Milwaukee Journal. August 16, 1931.
  8. ^ "Frankie Parker Seen As Future Davis Cup Hope". Berkeley Daily Gazette. July 7, 1933.
  9. ^ "Parker Beats Mako for National Clay Court Title". The Milwaukee Journal. July 10, 1933. p. 4.
  10. ^ "Polish Youth Tennis Champ". Spokane Daily Chronicle. July 10, 1933. p. 11.
  11. ^ "Frank Parker Wins National Tennis Title". The Milwaukee Journal. September 5, 1944.
  12. ^ Tennis Is My Racket, by Bobby Riggs, New York, 1949, page 58.
  13. ^ The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis (1979), Jack Kramer with Frank Deford, page 48
  14. ^ "Frank Parker". www.tennis.co.nf.
  15. ^ "Frank Parker, Early Tennis Professional, Dies at Age 81". Los Angeles Times. July 26, 1997.
  16. ^ "Grand Slam Tennis Statistics". www.tennis.co.nf.
  17. ^ "Critics Agree That Frank Parker Exhibited Nearly Perfect Tennis". The Milwaukee Journal. July 28, 1937.
  18. ^ "Davis Cup – Player profile". International Tennis Federation (ITF).
  19. ^ "Frank Parker Abandons Amateur Tennis Career". Star-News. October 17, 1949.
  20. ^ "Inductees – Frank Parker". National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013.
  21. ^ "Net Start, Ex-Wife Of Coach, Married". Berkeley Daily Gazette. March 17, 1938. p. 9.

SourcesEdit

  • Tennis Is My Racket, by Bobby Riggs, New York, 1949
  • The Game, My 40 Years in Tennis, Jack Kramer with Frank Deford, New York, 1979
  • How to Play Tennis, by Mercer Beasley, 1935

External linksEdit