Today in Black History (July 5th)

July 5, 1975 Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles’ championship.
Ashe beat defending champion Jimmy Connors three sets to one on Centre Court.

Speaking after the game Ashe said: “I always thought I would win because I was playing so well and was so confident.”

Although Ashe won the US Open in 1968 his 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory – at the age of 31- surprised many at the All England Club.

Connors, 22, admitted: “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.”

The older man won his first service game 40 to love and quickly broke his opponent’s serve in the first set. The pressure on Connors began to show – causing derision in the crowd – as he angrily threw his towel under the umpire’s chair and released a chain of expletives. Ashe took the first set in just 19 minutes and secured a second 6-1 rout almost as quickly. Tension mounted in the third set as Connors found his rhythm to recover a 6-5 lead – after trailing 3-1 – before winning the set.

Ashe kept his cool and broke Connors’ serve in the ninth game of what was to be the final set.

The match ended swiftly as Ashe reached 40-15 with his service game and punched home a winning volley after a weak two-handed return by Connors.

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