From breaking and removing racial barriers to setting records and establishing the path for upcoming generations of aspiring athletes, Black players and coaches have made countless pivotal contributions to tennis.
Althea Gibson was a trailblazer in tennis and overcame segregation on her way to becoming the first Black player to earn a Grand Slam title in 1956 at the French Open. Her outstanding career and admirable determination opened the doors to success for future Black tennis stars.
More than a decade later, Arthur Ashe became the first Black man to win a Grand Slam title with his triumph at the US Open in 1968.
Nearly 50 years later, Serena Williams became the all-time leader in Grand Slam singles victories with 331 to go along with a record-setting 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most for any woman in the Open Era. Alongside her sister Venus, the duo combined for 30 Majors while transcending the sport and becoming worldwide icons.
In 2017, the University of Michigan’s Brienne Minor became the first Black woman to win the NCAA Division I Singles Championship.
Five years later, JTCC alumnus Frances Tiafoe became the first Black American man since Ashe in 1972 to reach the US Open semifinals.
Stay tuned for more stories throughout February acknowledging players and contributors who have paved the way for Blacks in tennis while spotlighting historical achievements that have impacted American tennis.