Pancho Segura, one of the world’s leading tennis players during the 1940s and 1950s, died in Southern California on Saturday. The Ecuadorian was 96. The former coach of Jimmy Connors died from complications of Parkinson’s disease at his home in the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad.

Segura was known for his unique two-handed forehand. He went from championship amateur to dominating the tennis circuit in the late 40s and early 50s. He won three NCAA singles titles in a row. He reached the US National finals and won US Pro singles and doubles titles six times.

Segura turned pro in 1947 and became a fan-favourite immediately with his humour and unorthodox style. He became the World No 1 in 1950. He was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984 after a 20-year career. He eventually took up coaching with Connors being one of his most well-known pupils.