The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #79
Arthur Ashe (1943 – 1993)
Many people come to New York to satisfy a sense of drive, a need to get to the top, a desire to “make it here and make it anywhere”. Arthur Ashe achieved this by coming to Queens and becoming one of the greatest champions in tennis history. Now the namesake of the stadium for the US Open, Ashe won the first men’s singles championship in that tournament. With a career record of 818 wins, 260 losses, and 51 titles, he remains the only black player to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, or the US Open. Sadly, Ashe contracted AIDS during a blood transfusion in 1992. Picking up that other great New York City custom, activism, he dedicated the remaining year of his life to HIV education. He had founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health by the time of his death at the age of 49.
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