Arthur Ashe, an African American tennis player was the first of his kind to win the men’s singles match at U. S open in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975. Still in the year 1975, he was also the first African American man to be ranked as the best tennis player in the whole world. In 1985, he was inducted into the international tennis hall of fame (Biography editors (n.d)). Besides this, he was also an activist who sought to create awareness on AIDS which he had contracted via blood transfusion.
Ashe was born in Richmond Virginia on July 10, 1943 (Summer, 2004). His early childhood was a tough one, being brought by a very strict mother. Unfortunately, at age 6, his mother passed on and his father further tightened the reins (Biography editors (n.d)). Asher developed interest in tennis at an early age and soon captured the attention of a tennis coach by the name DR. Robert Walter Jonson Junior who was very active in black tennis community (Summer, 2004).
It was under this coach’s direction that Asher excelled to the level of junior national championships in his first tournament. He was keen on clinching the title and moved to S. Louis to work with another coach. He eventually won the title in 1960 and retained it in 1961. At that point, he was ranked as the fifth best national junior player and was offered a scholarship by the University of California (Biography editors (n.d)). Asher was African American to be recruited into the U.S Davis cup team in 1963. As he continued refining his skills, he had the privilege to come under the training of Pancho Gonzales whom he adored so much (Summer, 2004).
His battle with health complications began in 1979 and on February 6, 1993, the sun set for this black icon (Biography editors (n.d)). However, his legacy of “firsts” as an African American athlete and campaigner against social injustice lives on.
- Biography Editors. (n.d.). Arthur Ashe Biography.com. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from https://www.biography.com/people/arthur-ashe-9190544
- Summer, J. (2004). Arthur Ashe. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/sports-and-games/sports-biographies/arthur-robert-ashe