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Last updated: Tuesday 23 Jun 2009
Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson

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Do you know the name...Althea Gibson?

She was the first ever black person to win a tennis grand slam, trailblazing her way to the top of the game, decades before the Williams sisters were even born.

Althea’s game has been described as unbelievable.

Charging the net with her powerful serve and athleticism, she would intimidate opponents and set a benchmark for generations of tennis players to come.

But she didn’t have it easy.

She had to battle racism and prejudice in her journey from the poor streets of Harlem to the courts of London, Paris and New York.

As Wimbledon 2009 gets underway, 1Xtra News looks back on the life of a tennis legend.

 Arthur Ashe
Have you ever heard of Althea Gibson? What do you think of her achievements as a black player? Who do you think is the greatest tennis pro of all time?

This is really interesting and i learnt a lot about someone I never heard about. It must have been tough for her to make it in those days but she did it anyway. What a Leg! Good listen

Its really hard to understand. While she had difficulties as a poor black New Yorker to access facilities, she has a motivation bigger than anyone else. Why? because success meant everything to her.Contrast this with current crop of British tennis players who are put off training because its either too hot, too cold or wet. Motivation is everything to sports people. I mean UK Tennis Association has a budget that dwarf that of Tennis associations in Serbia, Check rep or Slovakia or even Russia. But these countries use the hunger the players have for reward success will give to motivate players. Maybe UK is not that meritocratic when selecting sports administrators.

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