Tennis world remembers Althea Gibson on what would have been her 93rd birthday

Tennis – Billie Jean King and others in the tennis world have paid tributes to tennis legend Althea Gibson, who would have turned 93 years old on August 25th. Gisbon, who passed away in 2003, is considered to be one of the legends of the sport and helped break barriers in the world of tennis.

In 1956, she became the first African American to win a Grand Slam title, when she won the French Championships and in 1957 and 1958, she won both Wimbledon and the US Nationals (precursor of the US Open). During her tennis career, she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments – five singles titles, five doubles titles, and one mixed doubles title.

Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame and after her tennis career, she also became the first Black player to compete on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour.

As a golfer, Althea Gibson’s highest ranking was No. 27 in 1966, and her best tournament finish was a tie for second after a three-way playoff at the 1970 Len Immke Buick Open. She retired from professional golf at the end of the 1978 season.

On the tennis circuit, she paved the way for other African-American players such as Arthur Ashe and the Williams sisters, who went on to become Grand Slam champions as well.

Billie Jean King says she is forever grateful to Althea Gibson

Billie Jean King, who has often said that Gibson was a huge inspiration for her, paid a glowing tribute to the late tennis legend on Twitter.

“Today would have been Althea Gibson’s 93rd birthday. For showing me at 13 what World No. 1 looked like, changing my life’s trajectory. For breaking the color barrier in tennis as the 1st Black person to win a major.

For triumphing despite much adversity. Forever grateful”

At last year’s US Open event, the USTA unveiled a sculpture that honored Althea Gibson.

Venus Williams spoke on that occasion, saying, “I would love if people knew her more. It wasn’t easy to be African-American in the ‘50s. It was actually, I wouldn’t even say easy, it was impossible to do that, and she did it and was a champion.

I can’t even imagine what she went through. And because she went through that — she went through it so I didn’t have to. What she achieved, her story hasn’t been told, so that statue is the beginning of what we should be doing for Althea”.

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