Gene Mako

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gene Mako
Full nameConstantine Eugene Mako
Country (sports) United States
Born(1916-01-24)January 24, 1916
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
DiedJune 14, 2013(2013-06-14) (aged 97)
Los Angeles, California, U.S
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) [1]
Turned pro1943 (amateur tour from 1927)[1]
PlaysRight-handed (one-handed backhand)
Int. Tennis HoF1973 (member page)
Highest rankingNo. 8 (1938, A. Wallis Myers)[2]
Grand Slam singles results
Australian OpenQF (1938)
French Open3R (1938)
Wimbledon4R (1935, 1937, 1938)
US OpenF (1938)
Professional majors
US ProQF (1943)
Grand Slam doubles results
WimbledonW (1937, 1938)
US OpenW (1936, 1938)
Mixed doubles
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
US OpenW (1936)

Constantine "Gene" Mako (Hungarian: Makó Jenő [ˈmɒkoː ˈjɛnøː]; January 24, 1916 – June 14, 2013) was an American tennis player and art gallery owner. He was born in Budapest, capital of Hungary. He won four Grand Slam doubles titles in the 1930s.[3] Mako was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island in 1973.[3]

Early life[edit]

His father Bartholomew Mako (Hungarian: Makó Bertalan) graduated from the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts in 1914.[4] He started to work as a draftsman for his mentor Viktor Madarász.[5] He was an avid soccer player himself.[6] He fought in World War I.[7] After the war, he left Hungary with his wife, Georgina Elizabeth Farkas Mako (Hungarian: Makó Farkas Erzsébet Georgina) [1] and only son, traveling first to Italy, then stopping for three years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, then settled in Los Angeles, California.[4] There he created works for public places like churches, libraries and post offices.[8] Gene attended Glendale High School and the University of Southern California, and he was offered a Hungarian University Scholarship in the meantime.[1][6] He quit before graduation.[1]

Tennis career[edit]

In 1934. he won the NCAA championships in singles and the doubles (with Phillip Caslin) while playing for the University of Southern California where he lettered at USC for three years (1934-36-37).[9] He also won the boys' singles event at the U.S. National Championships in 1932 and 1934 and the boys' doubles in 1932, 1933 and 1934.[1]

Mako was especially successful as a doubles player with his partner and friend Don Budge. They competed in seven Grand Slam finals, four of which they won. In 1936 Gene Mako and Alice Marble won the finals at the US Mixed Doubles Championships against Sarah Palfrey and Don Budge (6:3 and 6:2). They won the Newport Casino Invitational Tournament three consecutive times from 1936 to 1938.[10]

From 1935 to 1938. Mako was a member of the United States Davis Cup team and played in eight ties. The US team won the Davis Cup in 1937, defeating the United Kingdom in the final at Wimbledon, and in 1938 in the final against Australia at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia. As a Davis Cup player he compiled a record of six wins and three losses.[11]

Mako was in the U.S. top 10 in 1937 and 1938 (reaching as high as No. 3), and was ranked World No. 8 by A. Wallis Myers of The Daily Telegraph in 1938.[2] That year, he reached the U.S. final at Forest Hills against his doubles partner Don Budge, who was in pursuit of the first Grand Slam.[1]

In 1939. he was suspended and banned from playing for breaching the amateur rules.[12] He and Don Budge allegedly accepted a sum of 20A£ for an exhibition match in Australia, which was against amateurism.[13] Afterwards he continued to play tennis at that time during the Second World War while serving in the Navy.[3] He also played professional basketball while stationed in Norfolk, Virginia.[3]

In 1973 Mako was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was elected to the University of Southern California Athletic Hall of Fame.

Playing style[edit]

He possessed strong serve and powerful smashes but due to several injuries in his career, he had to give up his power game.[1] He preferred a volleying style, which he perfected with quickness, good angle selection and pacing paired with strategy.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Apart from being a sportsman, Mako composed music in his early 20s. He's the author of two songs, namely "Lovely as Spring" and "What Did You Dream Last Night?".[14] He also starred in the 1938 musical Happy Landing and the 1941 war comedy Caught in the Draft, although he remained uncredited in both movies.[15] Mako married actress Laura Mae Church in Manhattan in 1941.[1][16] A month later, World War II broke out, and he joined the United States Navy.[1] After this, he worked in a broadcasting studio.[12] After his retirement, he designed tennis courts.[1] His wife worked as an interior designer.[17] He was involved in wrestling and was hired as a coach at the California Institute of Technology[18] while also coaching the basketball team.[19] He owned Gene Mako Galleries in Los Angeles, California.[7][20] He also published a book about his father titled Bartholomew Mako: A Hungarian Master, 1890-1970.[21] In the final decade of his life, he taught art.[22] He died in 2013 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, aged 97, of pneumonia.[8][23]

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles (1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Loss 1938 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge 3–6, 8–6, 2–6, 1–6

Doubles (4 titles, 3 runners-up)[edit]

Result Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Loss 1935 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge United States Wilmer Allison
United States John Van Ryn
2–6, 3–6, 6–2, 6–3, 1–6
Win 1936 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge United States Wilmer Allison
United States John Van Ryn
6–4, 6–2, 6–4
Win 1937 Wimbledon Grass United States Don Budge United Kingdom Pat Hughes
United Kingdom Raymond Tuckey
6–0, 6–4, 6–8, 6–1
Loss 1937 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge Germany Henner Henkel
Germany Gottfried von Cramm
4–6, 5–7, 4–6
Loss 1938 French Championships Clay United States Don Budge France Bernard Destremau
France Yvon Petra
6–3 3–6 7–9 1–6
Win 1938 Wimbledon Grass United States Don Budge Germany Henner Henkel
Germany Georg von Metaxa
6–4, 6–3, 3–6, 8–6
Win 1938 U.S. National Championships Grass United States Don Budge Australia John Bromwich
Australia Adrian Quist
6–3, 6–2, 6–1


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Frank V. Phelps (January 1, 1995). David L. Porter (ed.). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: 1992-1995 Supplement for Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Other Sports. Westport, CT, United States: Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 645–646. ISBN 9780313284311.
  2. ^ a b "Bromwich Placed Third", The Sydney Morning Herald, October 5, 1938.
  3. ^ a b c d Jerry Crowe (May 14, 2007). "Tennis player to the stars has still got game at 91". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 10, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "A Magyar Képzőművészeti Egyetem hallgatói 1871-től a mai napig" [The Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts students from 1871 to the present day]. (in Hungarian). University of Fine Arts Budapest. Archived from the original (pdf) on September 26, 2021. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "A Father's Lessons, a Son's Gratitude" (PDF). St. Mary's College of Maryland. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 29, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Tales in tidbits". Evening Independent. XXX. St. Petersburg, Florida, United States: Willis B. Powell: 5. June 9, 1937. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  7. ^ a b József Mélyi (May 10, 2012). "Pálya a magasban". Magyar Narancs (in Hungarian) (19). Budapest, Hungary: Kft. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Gene Mako, doubles champion in tennis with Don Budge, dies at 97". Los Angeles Times. June 16, 2013.
  9. ^ "Men's Tennis". University of Southern California. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013.
  10. ^ "The International Tennis Hall of Fame" (PDF). Newport, Rhode Island, United States: International Tennis Hall of Fame. June 4, 1983. p. 34.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Davis Cup – Player profile Gene Mako". ITF.
  12. ^ a b "Gene Mako, Ex-Tennis Star, To Wed Next Week" (PDF). New York Post. New York City, United States: Dorothy Schiff. November 22, 1941. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  13. ^ "Mako denies taking money for exhibition" (PDF). The Daily Iowan. XXXVII (256). Iowa, United States: University of Iowa: 3. April 13, 1938. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  14. ^ "Gene Mako as an extra". Oakland Tribune. Oakland, United States: Joseph R. Knowland: 143. March 2, 1941. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  15. ^ Henry Luce, ed. (December 8, 1941). "Milestones, Dec. 8, 1941". Time. New York City, United States: Time Inc. Archived from the original on June 9, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Dorothy Manners (May 29, 1967). "Stevens sheds sex symbol for nun's garb in film". The News and Courier. 167 (149). Charleston, South Carolina, United States: Evening Post Publishing Company: 3. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  17. ^ William Ward Vickers (August 1, 2006). On Wits and Wind. Bloomington, Indiana, United States: AuthorHouse. p. 6. ISBN 9781425909475.
  18. ^ "CIT news" (PDF). California Institute of Technology. December 1944. p. 17. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  19. ^ "Gene Mako (II)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  20. ^ Bartholomew Mako: A Hungarian Master, 1890-1970, Volume 2. Google Inc. 2006. ISBN 9789889847296. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  21. ^ Justin Schneider (October 18, 2008). "Wood, Miller took winding paths to art". The Herald Bulletin. Anderson, Indiana, United States: Community Newspaper Holdings. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  22. ^ New York Times, Gene Mako, champion tennis partner of Don Budge, dies at 97

External links[edit]