Today in Sports History: December 12

By Veronica An

In 1968, Arthur Ashe became the first African American player to be ranked No. 1 by the US Lawn Tennis Association. Ashe began playing tennis at age seven, despite being excluded from segregated tennis courts and competitions. He won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) singles title in 1965 for the University of California, Los Angeles. the next year, Ashe made it to the finals of the Australian Championship. Ashe was also the first black player to be selected for the United States Davis Cup team. He is still the only black man to have won singles titles at the US Open (1968), the Australian Open (1970), and Wimbledon (1975). Ashe finished his career with a 138-41 record and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. Ashe suffered a heart attack in 1979 and later contract HIV/AIDS as a result of corrective heart surgery. Ashe became an advocate for the American Heart Association and founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS.

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