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Robert ("Bob") Falkenburg (born on January 29, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY, United States) is a former American male tennis player and businessman of German descent. He is best remembered for his victory at the Wimbledon Championships in 1948.

Falkenburg suffered from a respiratory problem that was no hindrance in his everyday life but that handicapped him somewhat as an athlete. He therefore developed a method of pacing himself during matches, concentrating on winning only sets in which he was clearly ahead. If he fell behind, he would make little effort to win that particular set, a trait that particularly annoyed British sports fans. As tennis great Jack Kramer, Falkenburg's near contemporary, has written: "A typical Falkenburg victory reads like this: 6–4, 0–6, 6–4, 0–6, 7–5." He would also find opportunities during a match to fall to the court in order to catch his breath. "At Wimbledon the general impression was that Falkenburg was a bad sport," writes Kramer.

Falkenburg attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.[1] He was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame.

In 1948 Falkenburg played the Australian John Bromwich for the championship. He won the first and third sets but hardly made an effort to win the second and fourth sets. In the fifth set Bromwich had two match points on his serve at 5–2. He came to the net for a volley but decided that Falkenburg's ball would go long and let it go by. It fell inside the baseline. On the second match point, he volleyed the ball wide. Bromwich later had a third match point but was unable to win that either and Falkenburg won the championship by winning the last five games of the set for an unpopular 7–5 victory.

Bromwich gained a measure of revenge against Falkenburg the following year at Wimbledon by defeating him, once again in a five-set match, in the quarter-finals.

Falkenburg was the brother of American film starlet Jinx Falkenburg, herself a capable tennis competitor. As a boy, Kramer writes, he was "really quite quick, with a game similar to Gonzales' -- in fact he had a good record against Pancho when they were kids. But Falky was nowhere near as good as Gonzales, and he was always vulnerable on the forehand. What he did have was a great serve; he was exceptionally tall, and just as skinny, and he could uncoil aces." He was a streaky player, continues Kramer. "His best play all came off his serve: good backhand volley, very good overhead. He'd close in tight at the net, towering over it, and keep the pressure on tight."

After his marriage Falkenburg became a Brazilian citizen. He became a wealthy man by introducing the sale of whipped ice cream in Brazil. He is the founder of a Brazilian fast-food restaurant chain, called Bob's.

Grand Slam record

Wimbledon

  • Singles champion: 1948
  • Doubles champion: 1947

U.S. Championships

  • Doubles champion: 1944
  • Doubles finalist: 1945
  • Mixed Doubles finalist: 1945

References

  1. ^ USC Men's Tennis -- On The Pro Tour, USCTrojans.com, Accessed July 8, 2008.

Sources

  • The Game — My 40 Years in Tennis (1979) — Jack Kramer with Frank Deford (ISBN 0-399-12336-9)
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