Remembering Arthur Ashe’s legacy on what would have been his 72nd birthday

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Lou Einwick met Arthur Ashe in the ’60s. At the time, Einwick organized tennis tournaments in Richmond. The two men cultivated a friendship that lasted for decades.

“I’ve got a lot of letters from Arthur,” Einwick told 8News. “This is a post card that Arthur sent to me one time. It was sent to me in 1974.”

In 1975, when Ashe won Wimbledon, Einwick nervously listened on a radio. “I thought, oh boy, Connors has got {him} and this thing is over, but he came back and won it and it really felt wonderful.”

Einwick says the three time grand slam champion cared about many other things. He even played a major part in desegregation in South Africa.

“They wouldn’t let Arthur play, so he kept on making applications until they finally accepted him over there,” he said.

At Battery Park, where Ashe learned to play, a new generation is learning the sport.

“They get excited. Like I said, I had a six-year-old little girl, she was really determined to hit the ball over the net,” says Coach Victor Rizzi who works with the  City of Richmond Parks and Rec department.

Ashe died in 1993 from AIDS. It’s believed that he contracted the virus through  blood transfusions. The Arthur Ashe Learning Center is based in New York; it continues to champion many of the causes Ashe supported.

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