The Three Greatest Years

Caroline Seebohm

Bobby Riggs and Jack Kramer: from opponents to business partners.

By the middle of 1949, Bobby Riggs was burned out. Having been beaten by Kramer an embarrassing number of times at the end of the 1948 North American Tour, Riggs had pulled himself together enough to win the U.S. Professional Championships at Forest Hills against Don Budge.

But his best playing days were over, and his fans were losing interest. Jack Kramer's star was in the ascendancy, and the tour had only served to enhance the younger man's image, while Riggs admitted that he was depressed and exhausted.

So Bobby Riggs, never one to flinch before a big gamble, retired his tennis racket at the age of thirty-one. But he wasn't finished with tennis by any means. With Jack Harris out of the picture, he saw a chance to stay in the game as a promoter.

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In addition to Little Pancho, Caroline Seebohm is the author of Under Live Oaks: The Last Great Houses of the Old South, Boca Rococo, and How Addison Mizner Invented Florida's Gold Coast. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other publications. An avid tennis player, she was a high school singles champion.

Little Pancho: The Life of Tennis Legend Pancho Segura

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.

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