Some Words for Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe

On the 6th of February 1993, the only African-American man to ever win the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open died of difficulties as a result of AIDS. He was only 49 at the time. Some were familiar with him for his wonderful tennis game, while others were ardent supports because of all his social involvement.

In either case, Arthur Ashe was a respected man who gained the respect of everyone who came across him. Even his closest opponents knew what a great sportsperson and man he was. And one way the tennis community paid honor to the great man is by naming a tennis court after him. The Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows, New York, is the largest tennis stadium in the world, holding over 23,000 people.

Even though Ashe went on to become one of the best tennis players in the world, his life was not relaxed. He grew up in a separated neighborhood in Richmond, with only his father to look out of him, as his mother had passed away due to difficulties from a toxemic pregnancy. Ashe was pushed hard by his father, who desired his son to shine at both his studies and sports. However, Ashe Sr. never let his son play football, due to his thin shape.

Luckily for Ashe, he found his entry into sports through tennis, as he started playing at public playgrounds from the age of seven. He was speedily spotted as a brilliant natural talent by Ron Charity, a student at the Virginia Union University. Ashe took teachings with Charity for several years, and he continued playing the game during his school years.

The charity also linked Ashe with Robert Johnson and Althea Gibson, who had originated a tennis camp at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia. He requested Ashe there at the age of ten and taught the young boy all he could about tennis, sportsmanship and the mental composure he wanted to make it as a black athlete during those times.

Every step in his career was a first for Arthur Ashe, as he ruined boundaries, proved people wrong and showcased his talent and temper at every chance. After graduating high school, he went to UCLA on a full tennis scholarship and turn out to be the first African-American man to have a hand in the Davis Cup for the United States.

He served in the Army for two years after graduating from UCLA, and then he went on to win the U.S. Open in 1968. Two years later, he was the Australian Open champion, and in 1975 he became Wimbledon champion after beating Jimmy Connors in the final.

Off the court, Ashe devoted his life to charity and charitable work, and his tennis programs were extremely popular with inner city children in various portions of the United States. He was also outspoken about the brutalities of the apartheid government in South Africa, and he was never scared of giving his view on social issues.

Ashe passed away in 1993 from AIDS, a disease he had contracted virtually a decade earlier due to a bad blood transfusion during a heart procedure. For many years, he had not told anyone about his illness, but he finally made his AIDS diagnosis public after a newspaper exposed details about his health.

Four years after his death in 1997, the United States Tennis Association publicized their decision to name their new center court at Flushing Meadows the Arthur Ashe Stadium, certifying the man would be remembered and prized in the sports world forever. Perfect tennis court resurfacing in Georgia  with perfect leveling plays an important role in a tennis game.