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Frank Parker

tennis player
Full name: Frank Andrew Parker
Nickname: Frankie, The Little Pole
Alias: Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski
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Bio Frank "Frankie" Andrew Parker, born as Franciszek Andrzej Pajkowski who 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.
A cunning competitor with an outstanding ground game, Parker lasted longer at the top level of American tennis than just about anyone else. From 1933 to 1949-a remarkable span of 17 years-he was a member of the American top ten.

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

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

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.

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

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."
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.

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. He compiled a Davis Cup record of 12 wins and two losses.

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

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.

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