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Main > Sports > Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe (July 10, 1943 - February 6, 1993) was a prominent African American tennis player who was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. During his playing career, he won three Grand Slam titles. Ashe is also remembered for his efforts to further social causes. In 1963, Ashe became the first African American ever selected to the United States Davis Cup team. In 1969, Ashe turned professional. In 1970, Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open. In 1975, Ashe won Wimbledon, unexpectedly defeating Jimmy Connors in the final. He played for several more years, but after being slowed by heart surgery in 1979, Ashe retired in 1980.

Ashe remains the only African American player ever to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, or Australian Open. He is one of only two men of black African ancestry to win a Grand Slam singles title.

The story of Ashe's life turned from success to tragedy in 1988, however, when Ashe discovered he had contracted HIV during the blood transfusions he had received during one of his two heart surgeries. Two months before his death, he founded the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, to help address issues of inadequate health care delivery and was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year.

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