Arthur Ashe rose from a segregated Virginia neighborhood to become not only one of the best professional tennis players in history, but also a trailblazer for African-American athlete's everywhere. Ashe was faced with adversity throughout all years of his life because of his race, which made his moment of greatness that much sweeter. This moment came in 1980 when Ashe was named as the first African-American Davis Cup captain. An honor, and responsibility, that many dream of but few ever achieve. .
While growing up in Virginia Ashe was not allowed to play tennis on pubic courts or in junior tournaments because of his race. He was looked down upon throughout his career for being the only black in a predominately white sport. Ashe once said, "discrimination and ultimate despair have dogged the steps of the mightiest of [African-American] heroes" (P. ix). It is this kind of determination to overcome this discrimination that allowed for Ashe to earn a tennis scholarship to UCLA and work his way into the USTA (United States Tennis Association) hall of fame. It is this kind of heart that lead to him being not only the first African-American Davis Cup captain, but the first African-American to play Davis Cup for the United States.
It is somewhat ironic that Ashe had worked through adversity from his country just so that he could represent his country. It seemed as though every match he won was a victory for him as well as for the African-American community. Ashe brought racial lines right into the living rooms of Americans and showed them that there is a place for a black man in a predominately white sport; just as Jackie Robinson, one of Ashe's boyhood heroes, had done decades before (p. ix). However, to say that Ashe merely represented the U.S. would be an understatement. He would lead the team to victory in 1968 by becoming the first African-American to win the U.S. Open. Ashe would later go on to win 28 of 34 Davis Cup matches over fifteen years (p.