Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr, 1943 - 1993
Commemorative US postage stamp, 2005
Born: 10 July 1943, Richmond, Virginia
Died: 6 February 1993, New York City
Ashe started playing tennis at age seven. A tennis fan at Saint Louis, Missouri financed a move to that city for his high school years, and in 1963 he was granted a tennis scholarship to UCLA. Ashe served two years in the US Army before starting tournament play. He set a few records for his tennis, with a career record of 818 wins, 260 losses, and 33 titles, but the list of records in which he was the first black person to win a given tournament is much longer. Ashe retired from tennis in 1980 following heart surgery the previous year. He married photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy in a 1977 ceremony at the United Nations headquarters chapel. In 1988 he learned that he had been infected with the HIV virus from a blood transplant during one of his two heart surgeries, which he announced in 1992. He spent much of his last year campaigning for AIDS-related causes.
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Arthur Ashe quotes:
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- A wise person decides slowly but abides by these decisions. permalink
- Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance. permalink
- Drummed into me, above all, by my dad, by the whole family, was that without your good name, you would be nothing. permalink
- Every time you win, it diminishes the fear a little bit. You never really cancel the fear of losing; you keep challenging it. permalink
- From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. permalink
- I accepted the fact that as much as I want to lead others, and love to be around other people, in some essential way, I am something of a loner. permalink
- I don't care who you are, you're going to choke in certain matches. You get to a point where your legs don't move and you can't take a deep breath. You start to hit the ball about a yard wide, instead of inches. permalink
- I don't want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments. That's no contribution to society. [Tennis] was purely selfish; that was for me. permalink
- I guess I started too early because I just thought it was something fun to do. permalink
- I have always drawn strength from being close to home. permalink
- I have tried to keep on with my striving because this is the only hope I have of ever achieving anything worthwhile and lasting. permalink
- I keep sailing on in this middle passage. I am sailing into the wind and the dark. But I am doing my best to keep my boat steady and my sails full. permalink
- I know I could never forgive myself if I elected to live without humane purpose, without trying to help the poor and unfortunate, without recognizing that perhaps the purest joy in life comes with trying to help others. permalink
- I may not be walking with you all the way, or even much of the way, as I walk with you now. permalink
- If I were to say, "God, why me?" about the bad things, then I should have said, "God, why me?" about the good things that happened in my life. permalink
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