Don Budge (USA) and Gene Mako (USA)
Gene Mako, the longtime doubles partner of Don Budge and a former Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion, has died. He was 97 years old.
Mako, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1973, passed away on June 14 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Mako partnered with Budge to reach seven doubles finals at Grand Slam events. They won two doubles titles at Wimbledon (1937 and 1938) and two at the US Championships (1936 and 1938). In 1936, Mako partnered with Alice Marble to win the mixed doubles title at the US Nationals, defeating Budge and his partner Sarah Palfrey.
While the majority of his success was in doubles, Mako was a skilled singles player as well. He was ranked in the US Top 10 in 1937 and 1938, reaching as high as No. 3, and he achieved the world No. 9 ranking 1938. That same year, Mako reached the singles final of the US Championships at Forest Hills, where he faced none other than Budge.
Budge won the match, ultimately achieving the Grand Slam for winning all four majors that year.
Mako was also an integral member of the United States Davis Cup team from 1935 to 1938, helping the team win two championships, in 1937 and 1938.
He also had a successful tennis career at the University of Southern California, where he won the NCAA singles and doubles championships in 1934. He was inducted into the University of Southern California Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
Mako was born in Hungary on January 24, 1916. After World War I, Mako and his family lived in Buenos Aires, before settling in Los Angeles, CA. Mako’s father was a skilled painter who inspired Mako to have a keen interest in art. Throughout his life he was an ardent collector and dealer of fine paintings.
Mako was a veteran of the US Navy, having served in World War II.