October 27, 1920|
October 7, 1997|
Highland Park, Illinois, United States
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||QF (1952, 1953)|
|Wimbledon||3R (1949, 1950, 1953)|
|US Open||4R (1948, 1949, 1950, 1952)|
|Last updated on: June 22, 2009.|
Felicisimo Ampon (October 27, 1920 – October 7, 1997) was a tennis player from the Philippines. He is considered to be the greatest Filipino tennis player in history, and at only five feet tall, was once considered the best tennis player in the world, pound for pound.
He represented the country in several Davis Cup competitions for almost 30 years, and holds the Philippine all-time record for the most singles (34-26) and total wins (40-35) in Davis Cup history. He was known for winning the 1934 Far Eastern Games tennis gold medal, the 1937 Davis Cup singles title, the 1950 Pan American Games tennis singles gold medal, the 1958 Asian Games tennis doubles gold medal, and 1968 Chinese Recreational Club Open Tennis doubles title.
Felicisimo Ampon was the son of former tennis player Felix Ampon and the brother of Desideria Ampon, who at her time dominate women's tennis in Asia.
Ampon made a good start of his career in the Far Eastern Games, winning the tennis singles gold medal in the 1934 edition. He twice played in the Philippines Amateur Tennis Championships and was beaten in the play-offs on both occasion. In 1936, he loss to eventual finalist Juanito Gavia (6-3 6-4 6-3) in the quarterfinals. In 1937, he defeated Sam Ang and Alfredo Diy, and made it to the finals of the Philippines Championship but loss to Leonardo Gavia Jr. (6-3 7-5 2-6 6-3).
After a disappointing Philippines Championships campaign, Ampon bounced back by winning the 1937 Davis Cup Singles title, becoming the first and only Filipino player ever to win a title in Davis Cup competition. He went on to lead the country dominated the Davis Cup Eastern Zone for two decades and made a prolific partnerships with other Filipino tennis legends Reymundo Deyro, Johnny Jose and Cesar Carmona.
After the war, Ampon participated in the 1950 Pan American Championship in Mexico City and won the singles gold medal, his finest career title. Defeating Davis Cup legend Bill Talbert (USA) in the semi-finals and two-time Grand Slam finalist Tom Brown (USA) in the finals. That victory, earned Ampon the first ever Philippines Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year award.
In 1952, Ampon made it the quarter-finals of the French Open at Roland Garros but unfortunately, he narrowly loss to world number one Frank Sedgman (AUS). In 1953, he return to Roland Garros and made impact, defeating Budge Patty (USA) in the fourth round (6-4 6-2 6-4) before losing to eventual champion Ken Rosewall (AUS) in the quarter-finals (6-2 6-1 6-1). Both quarter-finals was the highest finished by a Filipino in Grand Slam tennis. In the 1953 Wimbledon Open, Ampon made history by winning the Wimbledon Plate Championship, a trophy for the players who made an early exit in the first and second rounds (according to some sources he won this trophy in 1948). He also becomes the shortest player ever to play in Wimbledon history and won over 30 European trophies throughout his career. The same year, saw a historic all-Filipino finals in Oslo, Norway, where Ampon loss to his compatriot Reymundo Deyro, arguably his greatest rival and partner in Philippine tennis history.
In 1958 Asian Games, he was defeated again by Deyro in the finals of men's singles tennis and finished with a silver medal. He then partnered with Deyro to captured the men's doubles gold medal and with his sister Desideria Ampon captured the mixed doubles bronze medal.
He went on to play for another ten years, mostly in Davis Cup and represented the country for the last time in 1968. He ended his Davis Cup career holding the Philippine record for the most singles (34-26) and total wins (40-35) in history. He also won his last title, teaming up with Hong Kong's Kenneth Tsui to capture the Chinese Recreational Club (CRC) Open men's double title.
- 1934 Far Eastern Games champion (gold)
- 1936 Philippines Amateur Tennis Championship, quarter-finalist
- 1937 Philippines Amateur Tennis Championship, finalist
- 1937 Davis Cup singles champion
- 1950 Pan American Games champion (gold) [There is something erroneous about this item. There were NO Pan American Games in 1950. They didn't start until 1951 in Buenos Aires -- and how could Mr. Ampon have participated when the Philippines is NOT a member of the post-war Pan American nations? Can somebody clarify and correct this??]
- 1952 French Open, quarter-finalist
- 1953 French Open, quarter-finalist
- 1953 Wimbledon Plate champion
- 1958 Asian Games men's singles, 2nd place (silver)
- 1958 Asian Games men's doubles champions (gold) with Reymundo Deyro
- 1958 Asian Games mixed doubles, 3rd place (bronze) with Desideria Ampon
- 1957 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
- 1958 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
- 1960 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
- 1964 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
- "ITF Official Website". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- "Official Website of Davis Cup". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- Jeremy Manier. (October 12, 1997). "Tennis Star Felicisimo H. Ampon, 76". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- "PhilTennis: Official Website of the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA)". Retrieved 2009-06-22.
- "Hong Kong Tennis Association Official Website". Retrieved 2009-06-22.