Flushing, NY–Since 1997, the Arthur Ashe Stadium has been home to the US Open Tournaments. Formerly the Louis Armstrong Stadium, the 23,771 seated stellar athletic field is the centerpiece to the world-famous USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Known as the largest tennis facility in the world, the ultramodern open-air arena includes 90 luxury suites, five restaurants, together with a duplex level player’s lounge.
Pairing both its appearance and title, the history of this prestigious hippodrome goes beyond its display, hosting some of the greatest players to have ever competed in the sport of kings.
Along with Billie Jean King’s legacy attributing to the evolution of Women’s Professional Tennis, Arthur Ashe was also instrumental to the renowned sport as the first African American man to have won Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open single titles.
In 1963, he broke barriers as the first African American male ever to be selected to compete in the United States Davis Cup Team later to be ranked number three in the US in addition to winning single and double titles in the NCAA Championship. And, in 1968, he won both the United States Amateur Championship as well as the first US Open becoming the first Black male awarded those titles, beginning his outstanding career.
The following year, he participated in discrimination campaigns for U.S. sanctions against South Africa for denying his visa applications to compete in the South African Open eventually aiding the Tennis Federation’s decision in having the country expelled for its racial policy after wining his second Gram Slam at the Australian Open.
In 1972, the Association Of Tennis Professionals was founded protecting the interests of its players of which the sports innovator was later appointed as acting President. Arthur Ashe was not only a phenomenal player, he served as a dignified advocate of social and political change of African American culture till his unfortunate demise in 1993.
Ensuing the footsteps of her astounding predecessors, Serena Williams not only has commemorated their legacies, she constructed her very own with candor, perseverance, strength, and credibility. During her farewell speech, she thanked her long-standing fans, her parents and sister Venus saying “She’s the only reason Serena Williams existed”.
No one would’ve thought a Black girl from Compton would become such an essential part in the history of sports. “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.”