It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." - Arthur Ashe.
The Who's Who
If you're a true wimbledon fan or a tennis junkie, it's impossible you don't already know this man's name because. He was a World No.1 tennis player and the only African American player to have ever won the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open men's singles title!
However, unlike most other legendary sportsmen, Ashe is not only remembered for his exemplary skills on court. Rather, he was known as much for his big heart off of it as well. A humanitarian, a passionate activist and an incredibly open-minded man, Arthur Ashe was the kind of person who will never be forgotten.
The Eary Days
Ashe was born on July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. He was the oldest of two sons and was born to Arthur Ashe Jr. and Mattie Cunningham. As an African American in the 1940s it's not surprising that his life was marred by tremendous hardship. His mother was determined to create more opportunities for her son though and under her watchful eye Arthur began blossoming early. He learnt to read and speak at an early age. However, tragedy struck at age six when his mother passed away.
Ashe's father became very worried that his sons might grow out of control without the firm disciplinary hand of their mother and thus began to run a much tighter ship. He forced his sons to attend church every Sunday, and ensured that they were home every day immediately after school. In fact, Ashe admitted that he used to actually clock himself on the return route home from school and used to make it back within 12 minutes!
Just a year after his mother's passing, Ashe picked up a tennis racket for the first time at a park near his home. For reasons that even he couldn't explain he found himself sticking to the game until he eventually caught the attention of tennis coach, Dr. Robert Walter Johnson Jr. Ashe soon reached the Junior National Championships under his excellent coaching. He won the same title in 1960 and 1961. He was ranked fifth in the country, and hence easily won a scholarship to UCLA.
His playing style began to catch the attention of his tennis idol, Pancho Gonzales, who ended up helping him better his game and strengthening whatever few weaknesses he had.
1968 was the year he took the world by storm though. Still an amateur, he shocked an entire planet when he seized the prestigious US Open title and then, he never stopped making waves. He followed it up with the Australian Open title and then delivered the ultimate blow in tennis when he beat the incredible Jimmy Connors in the Wimbledon Finals. He only played for a few more years because of health complications, which cut short what could have been the world's greatest tennis career.
Read about Greatest Wimbledon Men's Champs here.
Many of this man's fights against injustices were based on his own tragic personal story. He retired from competitive tennis after suffering a heart attack at a very young age. From then on, he was plagued with health issues forever. He underwent major surgeries, including a quadruple bypass and emergency brain surgery after experiencing paralysis in his right arm. Then came the worst news of them all--Arthur had contracted HIV through a blood transfusion during his second heart surgery.
Surprisingly, Ashe never reveled in his glorious cult status of being an African American tennis star and always sought to use his unique status for the good of his people. He pushed for the creation of inner city tennis programs for underprivileged youth and was open about his stance against South African apartheid.
After learning that he had contracted AIDS, he went all out in spreading awareness about the disease and even founded a research institute in his name for the same.
His life's work never ended with tennis. He took on many new tasks after tennis including writing for TIME magazine, commentating, founding the National Junior Tennis League and more. He wrote a three-volume book as well.
In 1985, he was elected to the Tennis Hall of Fame too.
A wise person decides slowly but abides by these decisions.
Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.
Do not feel sorry for me if I am gone.
From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.
I accepted the fact that as much as I want to lead others, and love to be around other people, in some essential way, I am something of a loner.
I don't care who you are, you're going to choke in certain matches. You get to a point where your legs don't move and you can't take a deep breath. You start to hit the ball about a yard wide, instead of inches.
I don't want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments.
I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full.
I may not be walking with you all the way, or even much of the way, as I walk with you now.
If I were to say, "God, why me?" about the bad things, then I should have said, "God, why me?" about the good things that happened in my life.
If you're paid before you walk on the court, what's the point in playing as if your life depended on it?
Later, I discovered there was a lot of work to being good in tennis.
My potential is more than can be expressed within the bounds of my race or ethnic identity.
One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.
On February 6, 1993, Ashe passed away due to health complications. He was laid to rest in his hometown and close to 6,000 people attended the service.
The sheer number of people who showed up at his funeral service is evidence of the kind of legacy he left behind. He was much more than a sportsman and for that, his memory will be honored like few others. He was a political activist, a humanitarian and an epic sportsman, but most importantly, he cared deeply for the welfare of others.
Read about Greatest Wimbledon Women's Champs here.
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