A champion on the court and a game-changer in social justice, Arthur Ashe was one of the most influential and admired individuals of the 20th century. After overcoming racial barriers to capture three major titles and having utilized his success to inspire, it was naturally appropriate that Ashe would be awarded the highest honor in tennis — Hall of Fame induction. Ashe”s remarkable life has been commemorated in the International Tennis Hall of Fame regularly since his induction. In the year ahead, the HOF will work closely with Ashe”s daughter, Camera, to create a special tribute exhibit and complementary events in honor of the 25th anniversary of his induction that will further highlight his success in tennis, as well as his achievements off the court.
“Arthur”s perseverance and athletic skill on court made him a tennis legend. His leadership ability and dedication to freedom, justice and equality played an integral role in opening minds and changing opinions around the world. In addition, he led programs to make tennis accessible and appealing to young people, and created opportunities for people to use tennis as a platform for development of positive life skills,” said Hall of Fame Chairman Christopher Clouser.
In June, the Hall of Fame will open a special tribute exhibit to Ashe showcasing significant memorabilia from his tennis career as well as personal online casino’s mementos. Featured items of the exhibit will be Ashe”s ‘68 U.S. Open trophies, when he won both the singles and doubles titles to become the first African-American male to capture a Slam. Additional items celebrating his tennis career that will be displayed include his ‘75 Wimbledon trophy, ‘84 Davis Cup trophy, and the ‘62 ATA National Championships trophy. On a more personal level, several sculptures of Ashe will be showcased and a napkin from his 25th high school reunion, which was autographed by his classmates, will be on display.
“My family and I are so pleased to partner with the Hall of Fame for this special recognition of my father”s life and work. Tennis was a passion for my dad, and he valued the fact that his success in sport gave him a platform from which he could lobby for positive changes in the world, particularly in the area of social justice,” said Camera Ashe.
Complementing the new exhibit, the Museum will continue to showcase several tribute pieces to Ashe that are on display regularly, including a Sports Illustrated cover following his ‘75 Wimbledon victory over Jimmy Connors, a congratulatory telegram from Jackie Robinson to Ashe following his ‘68 U.S. Open win, and a letter from Martin Luther King, Jr., in which King expressed his “personal appreciation for support and solidarity in the fight for social justice, freedom and dignity for all the people in this country.”
In addition to the Museum exhibit, Ashe will be celebrated during Hall of Fame Weekend, which will be hosted July 8-10.