Arthur Ashe in His Own Words — “It’s a long way from Brook Field to Wimbledon.”
July 5, 1975 became legendary for Arthur Ashe, who at the age of 31, became the first African American man in history that day to win the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon.
Tensions ran high at Wimbledon stadium that day, as Jimmy Connors, a 22-year-old, had just defeated the hard-hitting Roscoe Tanner in the semi-finals and was slated to win.
In this original NY Times article covering the event, the reporter captures Arthur’s cool, calm, collectedness — which would help him to victory in one of tennis’ greatest matches:
“On the changeovers Ashe sat still, eyes closed, meditating, relaxing for the task ahead. Outwardly unemotional, Ashe pressed on with the plan. Deliberate and careful, Ashe stuck to the battle plan.”
After his defeat, Connors said, “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.”
This became Ashe’s third and final Grand Slam win — yet the victory was only a part of the history made that day, as Ashe became the first African American man to win the prestigious Grand Slam grass-court tournament which dates back to 1877. Althea Gibson became the first African American woman to win the title in 1958; Arthur became the first African American man 13 years later.
Arthur Ashe Auction
In our upcoming January auction, we have an incredible collection of Arthur Ashe items from his personal estate. Particular to Wimbledon, we have 15+ items, ranging from signed photos to commemorative awards.
Like this 8″ x 10″ photo of a smiling Ashe holding the feted Wimbledon trophy up for the crowd to see.
We are also auctioning his yearly day-planners spanning his momentous career, in which he dutifully records his daily life, both on and off the court. His 1975 planner even notates his upcoming Wimbledon tournament — on the 23 June page, Arthur hand-writes, “WIMBLEDON STARTS”.
We’re auctioning a commemorative “Time” magazine award, printed with the article and photo that appeared in “Time” when Arthur made history at Wimbledon that year.
And an earlier Wimbledon award is being auctioned from a 1971 doubles tournament in which Ashe took a 2nd place finish with R.D. Ralston in Men’s Doubles. Little did he know that in a few short years, he’d be holding the prestigious tournament trophy in his hands, changing forever the course of history in tennis up to that point.
Recalling that moment went he won Wimbledon, he said, humbly and simply,
“When I took the match point, all the years, all the effort, all the support I had received over the years came together. It’s a long way from Brook Field to Wimbledon.”
via Total Sports
Be sure to check out the other Ashe items being auctioned in January.