Tennis

Holmes with a tennis racket.
Courtesy of Meredythe Holmes

Irwin Holmes had the early makings of an all-around star. He graduated third in his class at Hillside High School in 1956 at the age of 15. In addition to his academic prowess, Holmes was also a champion on the tennis court.

Algonquin Tennis Club, Tennis, Durham, Arthur Ashe, Black Sports
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

A North Carolina Historical Highway Marker was unveiled Thursday, celebrating the all-black Algonquin Tennis Club. Tennis fans of all ages stood in front of the W. D. Hill Parks and Recreation Center in Durham for the unveiling on Fayetteville Street.

Arthur Ashe is known best as a tennis champion who achieved many firsts, including becoming the first and only African-American man to win a singles title at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, and the Australian Open. But many do not know about his early years. Before he was acclaimed, Ashe was a small kid from Richmond getting soundly beat at the Algonquin Tennis Club in Durham’s Hayti District. The club sponsored annual tennis tournaments in the 1920s that would see the likes of Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson. 

Rex Miller

Tennis legend Althea Gibson emerged from South Carolina to break color barriers in professional tennis.

In 1956, she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam tournament, and went on to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the following year. 

She became a champion despite the rules of the segregation era, a time when country clubs would not allow her to dress in their clubhouses. 

The new documentary “Althea” provides a glimpse of how she did it.

Marin Cilic won the U.S. Open on Monday, sealing an improbable journey and ending that of Kei Nishikori, who had become the highest-ranked Japanese player in history.

Cilic, as we reported, got to this point by dispatching Roger Federer in three sets on Saturday.

Today, he beat Nishikori, who had defeated the No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, in three sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. After the win, Cilic ran up the stands to hug his family.