History of African-American tennis and its players in the United States dates back close to 110 years. In 1898, the first tournament exclusively meant for African-American players was conducted by Rev. W.W Walker in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson of Lincoln University won the event. This was the much-needed boost that the community needed to further their interest in the sport of tennis. In 1917, the American Tennis Association or ATA Trophy was won by Lucy Diggs Slowe - making her the first ever African-American woman to become a national champion in any sport for that matter.
Althea Gibson became the first ever African-American to win a Grand Slam title and since then there has been no looking back as multiple African-American athletes (among both men and women) have achieved Grand Slam success. We focus on 10 of the greatest African-American tennis athletes of all-time :
#10 Chanda Rubin
Chanda Rubin was a prominent tennis player in the WTA circuit in the mid '90s. She reached a career-high ranking of World Number 6 in 1996 after making it to the semis of the Australian Open that year. She beat Gabriella Sabbatini in the 4th round and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the quarterfinals 6-4, 2-6, 16-14. The 48 games that she played to win is the most ever played in any Australian Open Women's Singles match. She is also a three-time Grand Slam singles quarterfinalist, having reached that stage at the French Open in 1995, 2000 and 2003. Prior to the 2016 tennis season, Chanda became only the third African-American in the Open Era to enter the WTA Top-10 after Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil. She also won the 1996 Australian Open Doubles title with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.
Throughout her career, she managed wins against either past, current or future World Number One's like Justine Henin, Serena Williams, Lindsay Davenport, and Amelie Mauresmo.