Robert Falkenburg


January 26, 2022

Robert "Bob" Falkenburg (January 29, 1926 – January 6, 2022) was an American tennis player and businessman with strong ties to Brazil. He was tennis champion at the Wimbledon tournament in 1948. He later became a successful American businessman operating in Brazil.


Bob Falkenburg was born in New York on January 29, 1926 and grew up in Los Angeles, California in a family of tennis players. His parents, Eugene "Genie" Lincoln Falkenburg (an engineer involved in the construction of the Hoover Dam and the construction of hydroelectric dams) and Marguerite "Mickey" Crooks Falkenburg were both amateur tennis players. While employed by Westinghouse, Eugene was transferred to South America, where he moved with his wife and three children to São Paulo. There Mickey won the tennis championship held in 1927. Mickey was always involved in tennis. In The Game: My 40 Years of Tennis, renowned tennis champion Jack Kramer wrote that Mickey Falkenburg was "the first person to suggest to him the idea of ​​a tennis team league", a league he later created. Bob's sister Jinx Falkenburg, a famous American movie star/model was also an amateur tennis player and his brother Tom had a successful tennis career as well. Bob started playing tennis in 1936 when he was ten years old. age. Like other well-known tennis players from Southern California, he often played at the Los Angeles Tennis Club in Hollywood, which was located very close to the family home. Bob also played at Bel-Air Country Club, where he won the junior tennis tournament in 1937 at the age of 11. As a young man, Bob participated in different tournaments around the city.

Tennis career

In 1942 and 1943, while attending Fairfax High School, Bob won the National Interscholastic singles title and won the national doubles title with his brother Tom. In 1943, Bob became the Los Angeles singles champion. The following year, he won the United States doubles crown with Don McNeill in Forest Hills, NY. In 1943, Bob became one of the youngest players to enter the US Top 10 amateur list. He remained in the US Top 10 for 5 years, while he was ranked World No. 7 (his highest rank) by John Olliff of The Daily Telegraph. From 1944 to 1945, during World War II, he served in the army as an air cadet. However, being enlisted in the service did not completely stop his tennis career and he continued to play from time to time while in the Air Force. In 1946, while studying at the University of Southern California, he won NCAA singles and doubles titles. He teamed up again with his brother Tom Falkenburg in winning the NCAA Doubles Finals. Bob was very agile and was known for his powerful serves. At the age of 20, he was considered to have "the fastest service in tennis." In 1950, he moved to Rio de Janeiro with his wife, Lourdes Mayrink Veiga Machado, whom he had married three years earlier. Brazil in the tennis tournaments he played. He defended the Brazilian Davis Cup Team in 1954 and 1955.

Titles in Winbledon

In 1947, he was paired with Jack Kramer and together they won the Wimbledon doubles title. A year later, in 1948, Falkenburg reached the height of his tennis career by winning the Wimbledon singles championship. He won the acclaimed tennis crown after winning 3 out of 5 sets against Australian John Bromwich, who after winning the fourth set was confident he would beat Falkenburg. Bromwich had three match points at 5-3 in the fifth set, but Falkenburg paved the way to do something tennis players rarely achieve; he saved all three match points and ended up winning 7-5 in the fifth set. Falkenburg won Wimbledon because he wasn't just a great football player.

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