Monday, July 5, 2010

Arthur Ashe Wimbledon Victory 35 Years Ago

An article in today's Richmond Times Dispatch remembered the upset Wimbledon victory 35 years ago by Richmond native Arthur Ashe.  Ashe was already a Richmond hero, but few expected him to win against Jimmy Conners, the #1 player in the world.  Ashe's victory in 1975 remains the only Wimbledon championship won by an African American male player.  Seven years earlier, in 1968 Ashe had won the US Open and helped win the Davis Cup; that same year he was denied the right to play in the South Africa Open due to apartheid.

Arthur Ashe inspired many young Richmond tennis players, including Maury Place innkeeper Mac.  Ashe was known for the dignity and manners he displayed in a sport that was becoming known for the brash behavior of its champions.  He was also known, however, for his willingness to speak out in defense of players rights, helping to form the Association of Tennis Professionals, and for his vocal opposition to discrimination and apartheid. 

In 1996 our city erected a statue honoring Ashe on Richmond's famous Monument Avenue.  The statue is just two blocks from Maury Place, where we often see visitors enjoying the statue and its inscription:

"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Mac Pence and Jeff Wells
your Richmond Virginia Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers at Maury Place at Monument