Born January 24, 1916, Constantine Mako is an American tennis player who is best known for playing his best games after surviving a devastating and painful injury to his right shoulder. Mako, known as Gene to his fans, was born in Hungary. His parents moved from Hungary to Italy and then to Buenos Aires, Argentina after World War I before they finally made the move to the United States.
Mako won the NCAA singles and doubles title in while attending the University of Southern California. He was especially known as one of the best players in doubles along with partner Don Budge, winning 4 of the 7 Grand slam finals that they competed in. He also won the US Mixed Doubles Finals with Alice Marble against Don Budge and Sarah Palfrey.
The Hungarian-born American was a member of the US Davis cup team from 1935 to 1938. He was also in the US top 10 in 1937 and 1938, the same year when he reached the finals at Forest Hills playing against Don Budge who was after his first Grand Slam. Here Mako reached his first singles final beating sixth-seed Frank Kovaks.
Mako was a hard hitter during his teenage years, one of the main reasons for a shoulder injury that was made worse by a tumble in London that damaged his right playing shoulder, pulling him out of that year’s Wimbledon. With the encouragement of his partner, Mako continued to play in doubles, saying in an interview later on, “I continued only because my friend and doubles partner, Don Budge, asked me to do so. I told him I’d be serving like a little old lady and would have to shovel the ball around, but it was okay with him.”