Frank Parker

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For other people named Frank Parker, see Frank Parker (disambiguation).
Frank Parker
Full name Frank Andrew Parker
Country  United States
Born (1916-01-31)January 31, 1916
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Died July 24, 1997(1997-07-24) (aged 81)
San Diego, California, USA
Turned pro 1949 (oct) (amateur tour from 1930)
Retired 1971 (Hampton last tournament)
Plays Right-handed (1-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HOF 1966 (member page)
Singles
Career record 38–9
Highest ranking No. 1 (1948, John Olliff)[1]
Grand Slam Singles results
French Open W (1948, 1949)
Wimbledon SF (1937)
US Open W (1944, 1945)
Doubles
Grand Slam Doubles results
French Open W (1949)
Wimbledon W (1949)
US Open W (1943)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1937, 1948 )

Frank "Frankie" Andrew Parker, born as Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski (January 31, 1916 – July 24, 1997), was a former 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 Mercer Beasley.

Early life[edit]

Parker was born on January 31, 1916 in Milwaukee as Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski and had three brothers and a sister.[2] He learnt to play tennis at age 10, hitting discarded tennis balls at the Milwaukee Town Club.[3] There he was discovered by the club coach Mercer Beasley who noticed his quickness and accuracy.[4] Aged 12 he won his first national title, the boys' indoor championship played at the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York.[2] 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.[5][6] 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.[7][8]

Career[edit]

Parker is one of the few Americans to win both the French Championships (1948, 1949) and the U.S. Championships (1944, 1945).[a][9]

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.[1]

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." [10] 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.[11]

Parker took part in the 1968 US Open at the age of 52, becoming the oldest player to compete in the US Open.[12]

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.[13] He compiled a Davis Cup record of 12 wins and two losses.[14]

In October 1949 Parker signed a one-year contract with Bobby Riggs to become a professional tennis player.[15]

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.[16]

Personal life[edit]

On March 17, 1938 Parker married Audrey Beasley who had previously divorced Parker's coach Mercer Beasley.[3][17] She became his adviser and tailored his tennis wardrobe.[3] His wife died in 1971 and in 1979 Parker retired from his position of salesman for a corrugated box company.[2][3]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles[edit]

Titles (4), Runner-ups (2)
Result Year Championship Surface Opponents in final Score in final
Runner-up 1942 U.S. Championships Grass United States Ted Schroeder 6–8, 5–7, 6–3, 6–4, 2–6
Winner 1944 U.S. Championships Grass United States William Talbert 6–4, 3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Winner 1945 U.S. Championships Grass United States William Talbert 14–12, 6–1, 6–2
Runner-up 1947 U.S. Championships Grass United States Jack Kramer 6–4, 6–2, 1–6, 0–6, 3–6
Winner 1948 French Championships Clay Czechoslovakia Jaroslav Drobný 6–4, 7–5, 5–7, 8–6
Winner 1949 French Championships Clay United States Budge Patty 6–3, 1–6, 6–1, 6–4

Doubles[edit]

Titles (3), Runner-ups (2)
Result Year Championship Partner Opponents in final Score in final
Runner-up 1933 U.S. Championships United States Frank Shields United States George Lott
United States Lester Stoefen
13–11, 7–9, 7–9, 3–6
Winner 1943 U.S. Championships United States Jack Kramer United States Bill Talbert
United States David Freeman
7–5, 8–6, 3–6, 6–1
Runner-up 1948 U.S. Championships United States Ted Schroeder United States Gardnar Mulloy
United States Bill Talbert
6–1, 7–9, 3–6, 6–3, 7–9
Winner 1949 French Championships United States Pancho Gonzales South Africa Eustace Fannin
South Africa Eric Sturgess
6–3, 8–6, 5–7, 6–3
Winner 1949 Wimbledon United States Pancho Gonzales United States Gardnar Mulloy
United States Ted Schroeder
6–4, 6–4, 6–2

Notes[edit]

  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).

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • 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