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1975: Ashe's Wimbledon win makes history

VIDEO : Arthur Ashe: "Also know what it's like to see some black hero do well"

American tennis player Arthur Ashe has become the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles' championship.

New Yorker Althea Gibson was the first black woman to take the Wimbledon title in 1958.

Ashe beat defending champion Jimmy Connors three sets to one on Centre Court.

Speaking after the game Ashe said: "I always thought I would win because I was playing so well and was so confident."


"Everything he did was good"

Jimmy Connors

Although Ashe won the US Open in 1968 his 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory today - at the age of 31- surprised many at the All England Club.

The son of a policeman from Richmond, Virginia, Ashe was reluctant to discuss his tactics, as he expects to meet Connors again.

Connors, 22, admitted: "I couldn't find an opening. Whether I served wide balls, or kicks he was there. Everything he did was good: fine returns, short and long, and hard serves and volleys."

The older man won his first service game to love and quickly broke his opponent's serve in the first set.

The pressure on Connors began to show - causing derision in the crowd - as he angrily threw his towel under the umpire's chair and released a chain of expletives.

Ashe took the first set in just 19 minutes and secured a second 6-1 rout almost as quickly.

Tension mounted in the third set as Connors found his rhythm to recover a 6-5 lead - after trailing 3-1 - before winning the set.

His friend and Wimbledon semi-finalist Ile Nastase watched anxiously from the players' stand, along with his mother Gloria and manager Bill Riordan.

Ashe kept his cool and broke Connors' serve in the ninth game of what was to be the final set.

The match ended swiftly as Ashe reached 40-15 with his service game and punched home a winning volley after a weak two-handed return by Connors.

In Context
Later that year Arthur Ashe was ranked number one tennis seed in the World.

He suffered a heart attack in 1979 and retired as a professional player a year later, though he continued as US Davis Cup captain.

He worked as a tennis commentator and journalist and later published his autobiography Days of Grace.

In 1992 Ashe announced he had contracted Aids from a tainted blood transfusion, probably from heart surgery he underwent in 1983.

Throughout his life he used his sporting profile to campaign on a variety of issues. He protested against apartheid in South Africa and US treatment of refugees arriving in the country from Haiti.

Ashe also started a number of charities, including a foundation for the defeat of Aids, and established the Institute for Urban Health just months before his death in February 1993.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium and Commemorative Garden was opened in Flushing Meadow in the US in 1997.


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