Arthur Ashe

Flushing meadows is the home of the US Open and it’s main stadium is named after one of the greatest tennis player’s Arthur Ashes.

As he was born on July 10th 1940 in Richmond, Virginia. In 1963 Ashes was awarded a scholarship to UCLA. As he was selected to represent USA in its Davis Cup team. In 1963 he became the first African-American player to represent the USA. As he became a fixture for the next fifteen years.

Within those fifteen years he was honoured with the national collegiate Athletic Association mens single championship in 1965. At the inaugural US Open in 1968 defeated Tom Okker in the finals and became the first black man to win one of the four major tennis titles.

In 1969 Ashe was denied a visa by the South African government. Which resulted in him unable to participate  in the South African open. Ashe announced his denouncement of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

As he won the Australian Open in 1970 and Wimbledon in 1975. As he defeated Jimmy Connors to be crowned king of the all England club. Connor was at that time the reigning Wimbledon champion. Arthur Ashe still holds the title in 2016 as the only black male player to have won at Wimbledon.

In addition to his three major titles, Ashe won 30 other singles competition and numerous doubles events all over the world on various surfaces.

Despite having heart surgery in 1979, Ashe continued playing until q980 and the year after his retirement,  he took over the as Davis Cup captain and was instrumental in the US success in 1981 and 1982.

His heart troubles reoccurrence in 1983 and Ashe had to have another operation, this time a double by-pass after his quadruple by -pass only four years earlier.

In 1988 Ashe experienced numbness in his right arm. When Ashe went into hospital it was revealed that he was HIV positive. The cause of this was because of a blood transfusion he received after his second heart operation.

In 1992 Ashe thought that his illness was to be revealed so he called a press conference and spoke about his health. From that time onwards he became a spokesman for numerous HIV  charities and helped bring attention to the disease.

Arthur Ashe has proved to be a positive role model.

source; voice newspaper,  October 9-15, 2006 by Ashley Horsford

#blackhistorymonth

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