By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pancho Gonzalez was inducted Saturday into the U.S. Open Court of Champions.
Self-taught on the public courts of Los Angeles, Gonzalez, the son of Mexican immigrants, won back-to-back titles at the U.S. championships in Forest Hills in 1948-49 and won two matches to help the U.S. team beat Australia for the 1949 Davis Cup.
Gonzalez later became a fan favorite and a dominant player on the professional tour throughout the 1950s and '60s.
As a 40-year-old in 1968, when professionals were allowed back into competition at the grand slams, Gonzalez reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros and the quarter-finals of the inaugural U.S. Open.
"Pancho Gonzalez was not only a great champion but also a true pioneer in the sport of tennis," U.S. Tennis Association president Jon Vegosen said in a statement.
"He has served and will continue to serve as a role model for generations of Americans, especially Hispanic-American athletes, and I'm proud that his name will live forever amongst the greatest U.S. Open champions."
(Editing by Julian Linden)