Felicisimo Ampon

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Felicisimo Ampon
Full name Felicisimo Hermoso Ampon
Country  Philippines
Residence Philippines
Born (1920-10-27)October 27, 1920
Manila, Philippines
Died (1997-10-07)October 7, 1997
Highland Park, Illinois, United States
Height 4 ft 11 in (1.50 m)
Singles
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open QF (1952, 1953)
Wimbledon 3R (1949, 1950, 1953)
US Open 4R (1948, 1949, 1950, 1952)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon 3R (1948, 1952, 1953)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon 4R (1949)

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.[1]

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.[2] 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.

Career[edit]

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 made history by winning the Wimbledon Plate Championship in 1948, a trophy for the players who made an early exit in the first and second rounds of the Wimbledon Championships.[3] Ampon participated in the 1950 Pan American Tennis Championships in Mexico City and won the singles event, 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.[4] That victory, earned Ampon the first ever Philippines Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year award in 2000.[5]

In 1952, Ampon made it the quarter-finals of the French Open at Roland Garros but narrowly lost to world number one Frank Sedgman (AUS). In 1953, he returned to Roland Garros and made impact, defeating Budge Patty (USA) in the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Ken Rosewall (AUS) in the quarter-finals. Both quarter-finals was the highest finished by a Filipino in Grand Slam tennis. He also becomes the shortest player ever to play in Wimbledon history and won over 30 European trophies throughout his career.[6] 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.[7]

Achievements[edit]

Singles Events[edit]

  • 1934 Far Eastern Games champion (gold)
  • 1936 Philippines Amateur Tennis Championship, quarter-finalist
  • 1937 Philippines Amateur Tennis Championship, finalist
  • 1937 Davis Cup singles champion
  • 1948 Wimbledon Plate champion
  • 1950 Pan American Tennis Championships
  • 1952 French Open, quarter-finalist
  • 1953 French Open, quarter-finalist
  • 1958 Asian Games men's singles, 2nd place (silver)

Doubles Events[edit]

  • 1958 Asian Games men's doubles champions (gold) with Reymundo Deyro

Mixed Events[edit]

  • 1958 Asian Games mixed doubles, 3rd place (bronze) with Desideria Ampon

Team Events[edit]

  • 1957 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
  • 1958 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
  • 1960 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion
  • 1964 Davis Cup Eastern Zone champion

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Official Website of Davis Cup". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  3. ^ Jeremy Manier. (October 12, 1997). "Tennis Star Felicisimo H. Ampon, 76". Chicago Tribune. 
  4. ^ "Felicisimo Ampon Whips Tom Brown". The Montreal Gazette. Oct 9, 1950. p. 18. 
  5. ^ "Letter to the Postmaster". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Mar 22, 2000. 
  6. ^ "PhilTennis: Official Website of the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA)". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  7. ^ "Hong Kong Tennis Association Official Website". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 

External links[edit]