Arthur Ashe

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Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe.jpg
Arthur Ashe, winning the 1975 ABN World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam
Country  United States
Residence Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Born (1943-07-10)July 10, 1943
Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Died February 6, 1993(1993-02-06) (aged 49)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Turned pro 1970
Retired 1980
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money $1,584,909 (according to the ATP)
Int. Tennis HOF 1985 (member page)
Singles
Career record 818–260[a]
Career titles 35 (Grand Prix, WCT and Grand Slam)
Highest ranking No. 1 (1968, Harry Hopman)[2]
No. 2 (May 12, 1976) by ATP
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open W (1970)
French Open QF (1970, 1971)
Wimbledon W (1975)
US Open W (1968)
Other tournaments
Tour Finals F (1978)
WCT Finals W (1975)
Doubles
Career record 323–176[a]
Career titles 18 (14 Grand Prix and WCT titles)
Highest ranking No. 15 (August 30, 1977)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian Open W (1977)
French Open W (1971)
Wimbledon F (1971)
US Open F (1968)
Team competitions
Davis Cup W (1963, 1968, 1969, 1970)

Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. (July 10, 1943 – February 6, 1993) was an American World No. 1 professional tennis player. He won three Grand Slam titles, ranking him among the best tennis players from the United States.

Ashe, an African American, was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open. He retired in 1980. He was ranked World No. 1 by Harry Hopman in 1968 and by Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph and World Tennis Magazine in 1975.[2][3] In the ATP computer rankings, he peaked at No. 2 in May 1976.[4]

In the early 1980s, Ashe is believed to have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery. Ashe publicly announced his illness in April 1992 and began working to educate others about HIV and AIDS. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993.

On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former United States President Bill Clinton.

Early life[edit]

Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Arthur Ashe Sr. and Mattie Cordell Cunningham Ashe. He had a brother, Johnnie, who was five years younger.[5] In March 1950, Ashe's mother Mattie died from complications related to a toxemic pregnancy (now known as pre-eclampsia) at the age of 27.[6] Ashe and his brother were raised by their father who worked as a handyman and was also a special policeman for Richmond's recreation department.[5]

Ashe's father was a strict disciplinarian who forbade him to play football, which was a popular choice for many black children, due to Ashe's slight build. The Ashes' house was located on the grounds of Brookfield Playground, Richmond's largest blacks-only playground, which had a tennis court. Ashe began practicing on the court and learned a few basic strokes from another young player, Ron Charity.[7]

Ashe attended Maggie L. Walker High School where he continued to practice tennis. Robert Walter Johnson would later become his coach. Tired of having to travel great distances to play Caucasian youths in segregated Richmond, Ashe accepted an offer from a St. Louis tennis official to move there and attend Sumner High School.[8]

Young Ashe was recognized by Sports Illustrated for his playing.[9] He was awarded a tennis scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1963. During his time at UCLA, Ashe was a member of the ROTC which required him to join active military service in exchange for money for tuition. After a 1966 tournament, Ashe joined the United States Army on August 4, 1966. Ashe completed his basic training in Washington and was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps. He was assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point where he worked as a data processor. During his time at West Point, Ashe headed the academy's tennis program. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant on February 23, 1968 and was discharged from the Army in 1969.[10][11]

Career[edit]

In 1963 Ashe became the first black player ever selected for the United States Davis Cup team. In 1965, Ashe won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) singles title and contributed to UCLA's winning the team NCAA tennis championship.

In 1968, Ashe won the United States Amateur Championships against Davis Cup Teammate Bob Lutz, and the first US Open of the open era, becoming the first black male to capture the title. Because of his amateur status he could not accept the $14,000 first-prize money, which was instead given to runner-up Tom Okker.[12] Ashe's ability to compete in the championship (and avoid the Vietnam war) arose from his brother Johnnie's decision to serve an additional path in his stead.[13] He also aided the U.S Davis Cup team to victory. He is the only player to have won both of these amateur and open national championships in the same year.[14] In January 1970, Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open. In September 1970 Ashe turned professional by signing a five-year contract with Lamar Hunt's World Championship Tennis.[15] Concerned that tennis professionals were not receiving winnings commensurate with the sport's growing popularity, Ashe supported the formation of the Association of Tennis Professionals in 1972. That year proved momentous for Ashe when he was denied a visa by the South African government, and was thus kept out of the South African Open. Ashe used this to publicize South Africa's apartheid policies: in the media, Ashe called for South Africa to be expelled from the professional tennis circuit.

In 1975, Ashe won Wimbledon, defeating Jimmy Connors in the final. He also won the season ending championship WCT Finals. He played for a few more years, but after being slowed by heart surgery in 1979, he retired in 1980.

President Reagan greets Arthur Ashe (left) in 1982

Ashe remains the only black man to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or Australian Open. He is one of only two men of black African ancestry to win any Grand Slam singles title, the other being France's Yannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983.

In his 1979 autobiography, Jack Kramer, the long-time tennis promoter and a world no. 1 player himself in the 1940s, ranked Ashe as one of the 21 best players of all time.[16]

Retirement[edit]

After his retirement, Ashe took on many roles including writing for Time magazine, commentating for ABC Sports, founding the National Junior Tennis League, and serving as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team. He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.[17]

In 1988, Ashe published a three-volume book titled A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete,[18] after working with a team of researchers for nearly six years.[19]

Ashe was also an active civil rights supporter. He was a member of a delegation of 31 prominent African-Americans who visited South Africa to observe political change in the country as it approached racial integration. He was arrested on January 11, 1985, for protesting outside the Embassy of South Africa, Washington, D.C. during an anti-apartheid rally. He was arrested again on September 9, 1992, outside the White House for protesting on the recent crackdown on Haitian refugees.

Personal life[edit]

On February 20, 1977, Ashe married Jeanne Moutoussamy, a photographer he met in October 1976 at a United Negro College Fund benefit. Andrew Young, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, performed the wedding ceremony in New York City.[20]

In December 1986, Ashe and Moutoussamy adopted a daughter. She was named Camera after her mother's profession.[21]

Health issues[edit]

Ashe promoting heart health after his heart attack.

In 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack, which surprised the public in view of his high level of fitness as an athlete. His condition drew attention to the hereditary aspect of heart disease. Ashe underwent a quadruple bypass operation, performed by Dr. John Hutchinson on December 13, 1979.[22] A few months after the operation, Ashe was on the verge of making his return to professional tennis. However, during a family trip in Cairo, Egypt, he developed chest pains while running. Ashe stopped running and returned to see a physician and was accompanied by his close friend Douglas Stein. Stein urged Ashe to return to New York City so he could be close to his cardiologist and surgeon.[22] In 1983, Ashe underwent a second round of heart surgery to correct the previous bypass surgery.

In September 1988, Ashe was hospitalized after experiencing paralysis in his right arm. After undergoing exploratory brain surgery and a number of tests, doctors discovered that Ashe had toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that is commonly found in people infected with HIV. A subsequent test later revealed that Ashe was HIV positive. Ashe and his doctors believed he contracted the virus from blood transfusions he received during his second heart surgery.[23][24] He and his wife decided to keep his illness private for the sake of their daughter, who was then two years old.

In 1992, a friend of Ashe's who worked for USA Today heard that he was ill and called Ashe to confirm the story. Ashe decided to preempt USA Today's plans to publish the story about his illness and, on April 8, 1992, publicly announced he had contracted HIV. Ashe blamed USA Today for forcing him to go public with the news but also stated that he was relieved that he no longer had to lie about his illness. After the announcement, hundreds of readers called or wrote letters to USA Today criticizing their choice to run the story about Ashe's illness which subsequently forced Ashe to publicize his illness.[25]

After Ashe went public with his illness, he began to work to raise awareness about AIDS and advocated teaching sex education and safe sex. He also fielded questions about his own diagnosis and attempted to clear up the misconception that only homosexuals or IV drug users were at risk for contracting AIDS.[23]

Ashe later founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. Two months before his death, he founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health to help address issues of inadequate health care delivery and was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year. He also spent much of the last years of his life writing his memoir Days of Grace, finishing the manuscript less than a week before his death.

Death[edit]

On February 6, 1993, Ashe died from AIDS-related pneumonia at New York Hospital. His funeral was held at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center in Richmond, Virginia, on February 10.[24] Then-governor Douglas Wilder, who was a friend of Ashe's, allowed his body to lie in state at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond. Andrew Young, who had performed the service for Ashe's wedding in 1979, officiated at his funeral. Over 6,000 mourners attended.[26] Ashe requested that he be buried alongside his mother, Mattie, who died in 1950, in Woodland Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.[27]

On February 12, 1993, a memorial service for Ashe was held at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan.[28]

Grand Slam singles tournament timeline[edit]

Tournament 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 19771 1978 1979 Career SR Career Win-Loss
Australian Open A A A A A A A F F A A W F A A A A A QF A SF A 1 / 6 26–5
French Open A A A A A A A A A A 4R QF QF A 4R 4R A 4R A 4R 3R 0 / 8 25–8
Wimbledon A A A A 3R 4R 4R A A SF SF 4R 3R A A 3R W 4R A 1R 1R 1 / 12 35–11
US Open 1R 2R 2R 2R 3R 4R SF 3R A W SF QF SF F 3R QF 4R 2R A 4R A 1 / 18 53–17
Win-Loss 0–1 1–1 1–1 1–1 4–2 6–2 8–2 7–2 5–1 11–1 13–3 15–3 15–4 6–1 5–2 9–3 10–1 7–3 3–1 10–4 2–2 N/A 139–41
SR 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 2 0 / 1 1 / 2 0 / 3 1 / 4 0 / 4 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 3 1 / 2 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 4 0 / 2 3 / 44 N/A

1The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
A = did not participate in the tournament
SR = the ratio of the number of Grand Slam singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played

Grand Slam finals[edit]

Singles: 7 finals (3 titles, 4 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 1966 Australian Championships Grass Australia Roy Emerson 4–6, 8–6, 2–6, 3–6
Runner-up 1967 Australian Championships Grass Australia Roy Emerson 4–6, 1–6, 4–6
Winner 1968 US Open Grass Netherlands Tom Okker 14–12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3
Winner 1970 Australian Open Grass Australia Dick Crealy 6–4, 9–7, 6–2
Runner-up 1971 Australian Open Grass Australia Ken Rosewall 1–6, 5–7, 3–6
Runner-up 1972 US Open Grass Romania Ilie Năstase 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(5–1), 4–6, 3–6
Winner 1975 Wimbledon Grass United States Jimmy Connors 6–1, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4

Doubles, 5 finals (2 titles, 3 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Runner-Up 1968 US Open Grass Spain Andrés Gimeno United States Bob Lutz
United States Stan Smith
11–9, 6–1, 7–5
Runner-Up 1970 French Open Clay United States Charlie Pasarell Romania Ilie Năstase
Romania Ion Ţiriac
6–2, 6–4, 6–3
Winner 1971 French Open Clay United States Marty Riessen United States Tom Gorman
United States Stan Smith
6–8, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4, 11–9
Runner-Up 1971 Wimbledon Grass United States Dennis Ralston Australia Roy Emerson
Australia Rod Laver
4–6, 9–7, 6–8, 6–4, 6–4
Winner 1977 (Jan) Australian Open Grass Australia Tony Roche United States Charlie Pasarell
United States Erik Van Dillen
6–4, 6–4

Grand Slam, Grand Prix and WCT Tour titles[edit]

Singles (33)[edit]

No. Date Championship Surface Opponent Score
1. August 1, 1968 U.S. Amateur Championships, Boston, USA Grass United States Robert Lutz 4–6, 6–3, 8–10, 6–0, 6–4
2. August 29, 1968 US Open, New York City, USA Grass Netherlands Tom Okker 14–12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3
3. January 19, 1970 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Grass Australia Dick Crealy 6–4, 9–7, 6–2
4. September 28, 1970 Berkeley, California Hard United States Cliff Richey 6–4, 6–2, 6–4
5. November 8, 1970 Paris, France Carpet United States Marty Riessen 7–6, 6–4, 6–3
6. April 18, 1971 Charlotte, USA Hard United States Stan Smith 6–3, 6–3
7. November 1, 1971 Stockholm, Sweden Hard Czechoslovakia Jan Kodeš 6–1, 3–6, 6–2, 1–6, 6–4
8. November 8, 1971 Paris, France Clay United States Marty Riessen 7–6, 6–4, 6–3
9. July 29, 1972 Louisville WCT Clay United Kingdom Mark Cox 6–4, 6–4
10. September 11, 1972 Montreal WCT Hard Australia Roy Emerson 7–5, 4–6, 6–2, 6–3
11. November 18, 1972 Rotterdam WCT Carpet Netherlands Tom Okker 3–6, 6–2, 6–1
12. November 26, 1972 Rome WCT Carpet United States Bob Lutz 6–2, 3–6, 6–3, 3–6, 7–6
13. February 26, 1973 Chicago WCT Carpet United Kingdom Roger Taylor 3–6, 7–6(11–9), 7–6(7–2)
14. July 23, 1973 Washington Clay Netherlands Tom Okker 6–4, 6–2
15. February 11, 1974 Bologna WCT Carpet United Kingdom Mark Cox 6–4, 7–5
16. March 3, 1974 Barcelona WCT Carpet Sweden Björn Borg 6–4, 3–6, 6–3
17. November 4, 1974 Stockholm Hard Netherlands Tom Okker 6–2, 6–2
18. February 17, 1975 Barcelona WCT Carpet Sweden Björn Borg 7–6, 6–3
19. February 24, 1975 Rotterdam WTT Carpet Netherlands Tom Okker 3–6, 6–2, 6–4
20. March 10, 1975 Munich WCT Carpet Sweden Björn Borg 6–4, 7–6
21. April 21, 1975 Stockholm WCT Carpet Netherlands Tom Okker 6–4, 6-2
22. May 7, 1975 Dallas WCT Finals Carpet Sweden Björn Borg 3–6, 6–4, 6–4, 6–0
23. June 23, 1975 Wimbledon Grass United States Jimmy Connors 6–1, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4
24. September 15, 1975 Pacific Southwest, Los Angeles Hard United States Roscoe Tanner 3–6, 7–5, 6–3
25. September 22, 1975 San Francisco Hard Argentina Guillermo Vilas 6–0, 7–6(7–4)
26. January 7, 1976 Columbus WCT Carpet Rhodesia Andrew Pattison 3–6, 6–3, 7–6(7–4)
27. January 12, 1976 Indianapolis WCT Hard United States Vitas Gerulaitis 6–2, 6–7, 6–4
28. February 4, 1976 Richmond WCT Hard United States Brian Gottfried 6–2, 6–4
29. February 17, 1976 Rome WCT Hard United States Bob Lutz 6–2, 0–6, 6–3
30. February 23, 1976 Rotterdam WTT Hard United States Bob Lutz 6–3, 6–3
31. April 17, 1978 San Jose Carpet South Africa Bernard Mitton 6–7, 6–1, 6–2
32. August 7, 1978 Columbus Clay United States Bob Lutz 6–3, 6–4
33. September 18, 1978 Los Angeles Carpet United States Brian Gottfried 6–2, 6–4

Honors[edit]

The Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2007 US Open
The Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center, on the campus of UCLA

Video[edit]

  • Wimbledon 1975 Final: Ashe vs. Connors Standing Room Only, DVD Release Date: October 30, 2007, Run Time: 120 minutes, ASIN: B000V02CTQ.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aurthur Ashe bio at Sports Illustrated". Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "American Netters Rated 10-1 Favorites", Toledo Blade, 22nd December 1968.
  3. ^ "Ashe Ranked 1", The Lewiston Daily Sun, December 9, 1975.
  4. ^ ATP profile of Arthur Ashe [1]
  5. ^ a b Moore, Kenny (1992-12-21). "The Eternal Example". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. p. 2. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Ashe, Arthur; Rampersad, Arnold (1994). Days of Grace. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 58. ISBN 0-345-38681-7. 
  7. ^ Moore, Kenny (1992-12-21). "The Eternal Example". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. p. 3. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "TRAVEL ADVISORY; Black History in St. Louis", The New York Times, May 10, 1992. Accessed December 11, 2007. "Sumner High School, the first school west of the Mississippi for blacks, established in 1875 (among graduates are Grace Bumbry, Arthur Ashe, and Tina Turner)..."
  9. ^ Arthur Ashe picture
  10. ^ Steins, Richard (2005). Arthur Ashe: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-313-33299-1. 
  11. ^ Army Register, 1969. Vol. 2. pg. 32.
  12. ^ Collins, Bud (2010). The Bud Collins History of Tennis (2nd ed.). [New York]: New Chapter Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0942257700. 
  13. ^ http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9600431/our-latest-30-30-documentary-short-examines-how-johnnie-love-brother-arthur-changed-their-lives-tennis-history
  14. ^ "Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr.". TennisFame.com. Retrieved September 9, 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Ashe signs 5-year professional contract". The Telegraph-Herald. Sep 16, 1970. 
  16. ^ Kramer considered the best ever to have been either Don Budge (for consistent play) or Ellsworth Vines (at the height of his game). The next four best were, chronologically, Bill Tilden, Fred Perry, [[Ronald Thorpe]], and Pancho Gonzales. After these six came the "second echelon" of Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Gottfried von Cramm, Ted Schroeder, Jack Crawford, Pancho Segura, Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith, Björn Borg, and Jimmy Connors. Kramer felt unable to rank Henri Cochet and René Lacoste accurately but felt they were among the very best.
  17. ^ "Arthur Ashe Biography". CMG WorldWide. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  18. ^ Ashe, Jr., Arthur R. (1988-11-13). "Views of Sport; Taking the Hard Road with Black Athletes". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Kupferberg, Herbert (1989-03-12). "Their Hard Road to Glory". Parade. p. 12. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Ashe, Arthur (August 1981). "My Introduction To Sex, Love and Marriage". Ebony (Johnson Publishing Company) 36 (10): 86, 90. ISSN 0012-9011. 
  21. ^ Steins, Richard (2005). Arthur Ashe: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 66. ISBN 0-313-33299-1. 
  22. ^ a b Rampersad, Arnold; Arthur Ashe (1993). Days of Grace: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 35. ISBN 0-679-42396-6. 
  23. ^ a b Sankaran, Gopal; Volkwein-Caplan, Karin A. E.; Bonsall, Dale R. (1999). HIV/Aids in Sport: Impact, Issues, and Challenges. Human Kinetics. p. 58. ISBN 0-880-11749-4. 
  24. ^ a b Finn, Robin (1993-02-08). "Arthur Ashe, Tennis Star, Is Dead at 49". nytimes.com. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  25. ^ Sankaran, Gopal; Volkwein-Caplan, Karin A. E.; Bonsall, Dale R. (1999). HIV/Aids in Sport: Impact, Issues, and Challenges. Human Kinetics. p. 59. ISBN 0-880-11749-4. 
  26. ^ "Friends and Fans Say Farewell to Arthur Ashe". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 83 (18): 12–18. 1993-03-01. ISSN 0021-5996. 
  27. ^ Macenka, Joe (1995-02-04). "Richmond still searching for way to honor Ashe". The Free Lance-Star. p. B1. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  28. ^ Goldman, John J. (1993-02-13). "Thousands Pay Tribute to Ashe : Memorial service: Late tennis champion is honored by friends, politicians and others in New York.". latimes.com. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  29. ^ Ashe induction at Virginia Sports Hall of Fame
  30. ^ http://www.notablebiographies.com/An-Ba/Ashe-Arthur.html
  31. ^ http://www.emmyonline.tv/files/Bryan_Polivka.pdf
  32. ^ "Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". senate.gov. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  33. ^ http://www.jeffersonawards.org/pastwinners/national
  34. ^ Johnson, Nuala C. (2005). "Locating Memory: Tracing the Trajectories of Remembrance". Historical Geography 33: 165–179. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  35. ^ Asante, Molefi Kete (2002). 100 Greatest African Americans: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 400. ISBN 1-57392-963-8. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  36. ^ "40 Greatest players of the TENNIS Era (29–32)". TENNIS Magazine. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 
  37. ^ "ITA Men's Hall of Fame". Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Retrieved September 9, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
None
Player of the Year
1975
Succeeded by
Sweden Björn Borg
Preceded by
United States Muhammad Ali
BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year
1975
Succeeded by
Romania Nadia Comăneci