For other people named Mike Franks, see Mike Franks (disambiguation).

Myron ("Mike") Jay Franks (born December 23, 1936) is a former world class tennis player. He was the #1 seeded Junior player in 1954 in the US Nationals at Kalamazoo, Michigan. He played #1 Singles for UCLA from 1956 to 1958 and was one of 8 All Americans. UCLA won the NCAA Tennis Championship in 1956. Mike was ranked #3 in doubles in the United States in 1956, 1957, and 1959 and was ranked # 7 in singles in 1959.[1]

Background

Born on December 23, 1936 in Beverly Hills, California, Franks started playing tennis in 7th grade and continued at Beverly Hills High School. He took lessons from Frank Feltrop at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. He often practiced with Bill Tilden and Pancho Gonzales.

Tennis career

In 1954, Franks was seeded #1 in the Junior Singles draw at the National Tennis Championships in Kalamazoo, Michigan and lost in the 4th round due to illness and in the finals of Doubles with Jon Douglas. In 1953, he won the National Junior Doubles Title with Jon Douglas.

Franks attended the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), where he was coached by JD Morgan and played #1 Singles for 3 years on a team consisting of Mike Green, Franklin Johnson(former USTA President), John Cranston, John Lesch, and Joe Blatchford(former Director of the Peace Corps). In 1956,he was runner-up to Alex Olmedo in the Pac-8 Singles Championships and he lost to him in the NCAA Singles semifinals and Doubles finals.[1] UCLA won the NCAA Team Championship in 1956 and was on NCAA probation in 1957 and 1958. Franks only singles losses in college were to Alex Olemedo. He was one of eight college All Americans. He was on the US Davis Cup team. After college Franks lived with clothing designer and tennis player Oleg Cassini while serving part of his Navy commitment in New York City.

In 1959, he won the Pacific Southwest Doubles Title with Barry MacKay, and the Southern California Singles Championships by defeating Alex Olmedo in the finals. Olmedo won Wimbledon one month later. In 1961, Franks and Donald Dell were the first Americans to play tennis in Russia for the US State Department.

In his tennis career he defeated the following tennis champions: Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Hugh Stewart. Gil Shea, Alex Olemedo, Ulf Schmidt, Jon Douglas, Barry MacKay, Herb Flam, Mike Green, Warren Woodcock, Donald Dell, Pancho Contreras, Allen Fox, Charlie Pasarell, Tom Brown, Dennis Ralston, Ron Holmberg, John Newcombe, Bob Hewitt, Fred Stolle, Vic Seixas, Rafael Osuna, Mal Anderson, Billy Knight, Sammy Giammalva, Armando Viera and many others.

In 1957, he and Mike Green reached the Quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Mens Doubles losing to Lew Hoad and Neale Fraser.

Franks recommending good friend Pancho Segura to be the Head Professional at the Beverly Hills Tennis Club, and he was hired.

Franks married Gloria Delson Cahn, former wife of songwriter Sammy Cahn in 1965. He was inducted into the Beverly Hills High School Hall of Fame on October 10, 2013. He was nominated for the ITA Mens Collegiate Hall of Fame in January 2016.

References

  1. ^ a b "Franks, Mike". Jews In Sports. Retrieved April 25, 2015.