Arthur Ashe

Quick Look At Ashe

Arthur Ashe was a legendary African American tennis player. He was the first-ever African American to win the men's singles titles at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, as well as the first African American tennis player to be ranked number one in the world

Early Life and Early Career

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was born July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. Ashe started reading at the age of four, and at the age of 6, his mother passed away. He first began to play tennis at the age of seven, and he didn't stop after that. Dr. Robert Walter Johnson became Ashe's tennis coach and helped him excel in his career and passion. Ashe made it to the junior national championships during his very first tennis tournament, and in 1960, he won the junior national title. He won the national title yet again the following year, and he was ranked America's fifth-best junior tennis player. This made him the first African American player to receive a ranking from the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association. Ashe was later given a full scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In 1963, he became the first African American member recruited by the U.S. Davis Cup Team. In 1965, Ashe won the NCAA tennis championship. Later, he graduated from UCLA with his degree in business administration.

Later Career

In 1968, still an amateur player, Ashe became the first Black male to win the U.S. Open title, and to this day, he still remains the only Black man to ever do so. Just 2 years later, in 1970, he claimed another victory, winning the Australian Open. In 1972, Ashe co-founded a union for male tennis players called the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and he later served as the ATP's president. In 1975, in the Wimbledon finals, he defeated the highly favored Jimmy Connors, making Ashe the first African American male to win a Wimbledon title. The same year, he was ranked number 1 in the world, becoming the first Black male tennis player to do so. During his career on the Davis Cup Team and through many of his victories, Ashe became a millionaire, making him the first Black millionaire in his sport. In 1980, Ashe retired from tennis, and in 1985 he was put into the Tennis Hall of Fame.


After retiring, Ashe worked as a sports commentator, and he wrote a book about Black athletes titled, "A Hard Road To Glory." He married a photographer named Jeanne Moutoussamy in 1976, and in 1983, he learned that he had gotten AIDS from a blood transfusion after a heart operation. Ashe kept this private from the media until 1992. On February 6th, 1993, Ashe passed away from pneumonia caused by AIDS. In 1997, the U.S. Tennis Association named the center court stadium at the National Tennis Center the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Arthur Ashe was a legendary tennis player and many of his accomplishments remain unmatched to this day. He was an inspiration to aspiring athletes and he had true grit and perseverance.