FAMOUS TENNIS PLAYER

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 7/7/2020 9:53:04 AM

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. (July 10, 1943 – February 6, 1993) was an American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam singles titles. Ashe 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. In the ATP computer rankings, he peaked at No. 2 in May 1976. 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 at age 49 on February 6, 1993. On June 20, 1993, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States President Bill Clinton. Early life Arthur Ashe was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Arthur Ashe Sr. (d. 1989) and Mattie Cordell Cunningham Ashe on July 10, 1943. He had a brother, Johnnie, who was five years younger than he. Both brothers were born into a family that claimed direct descent from Amar, a West African woman that was enslaved and brought to America in 1735 aboard a ship called The Doddington. 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. Ashe and his brother were raised by their father who worked as a handyman and salaried caretaker-Special Policeman for Richmond's recreation department. Ashe Sr. was a caring father and strict disciplinarian who encouraged Arthur to excel in both school and in sports, but forbade him to play American football, a popular game for many black children, due to his son's slight build, something that meant Arthur's childhood nicknames were "Skinny" and "Bones". The Ashes lived in the caretaker's cottage in the grounds of 18-acre Brookfield park, Richmond's largest blacks-only public playground, which had basketball courts, four tennis courts, a pool and three baseball diamonds. Ashe started playing tennis at 7 years of age and began practicing on the courts where his natural talent was spotted by Virginia Union University student and part-time Brookfield.

 

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