The All England Club in London is the oldest and widely considered the most prestigious venue in all of tennis. It serves as the Mecca of tennis championships hosting its crown jewel, Wimbledon. In the history of this illustrious tournament, dating back more than 135 years, there has only been one black man to hold the distinction of champion.
On July 5, 1975, Arthur Ashe upset the heavily favored 22-year old Jimmy Connors who many considered to be unbeatable at the time. Ashe was 31-years old and seemingly well past his prime, so his advancement to the 1975 Wimbledon finals came as somewhat of a surprise to the tennis world. And while his best finishes at Wimbledon had been losses in the semi-finals in 1968 and 1969, his opponent was the defending champion. In the three times Ashe had previously faced Connors, Arthur ended up on the "love" side of each result.
However, even with many thinking he didn’t have a chance, Ashe formulated a game plan for the match and took a more cerebral approach. His plan: hit nothing hard. Ashe executed strong serves and would then give Connors nothing but "junk" as Ashe himself described it. He played one of the greatest technical matches in Wimbledon history defeating Connors 6–1, 6–1, 5–7, 6–4 to win the title becoming the first, and the only African-American man to conquer the sport's ultimate prize.