Monday, August 25, 2014 Google USA celebrated the life and legacy of Althea Gibson. If you do not remember the 1956 Grand Slam winner, the google tells the story in its animation. Althea Gibson was the first women of “Color” to win a Grand Slam the French Open in 1956. Paving the way for tennis stars like the Williams sisters.
In 1957 Althea Gibson won Wimbledon and also the US Nationals (The USA Open Tournament). Althea Gibson was born August 25, 1927 in Clarendon County, South Carolina, United States of America and passed away on September 28, 2003 at the age of 76 in East Orange, New Jersey in the Unites States.
In late 1958, having won 56 national and international singles and doubles titles, including 11 Grand Slam championships, Althea Gibson retired from amateur tennis. Prior to the Open Era there was no prize money at major tournaments, and direct endorsement deals were prohibited. Players were limited to meager expense allowances, strictly regulated by the USTA.
“The truth, to put it bluntly, is that my finances were in heartbreaking shape,” she wrote. “Being the Queen of Tennis is all well and good, but you can’t eat a crown.
Nor can you send the Internal Revenue Service a throne clipped to their tax forms. The landlord and grocer and tax collector are funny that way: they like cold cash … I reign over an empty bank account, and I’m not going to fill it by playing amateur tennis.”
Professional tours for women were still 15 years away, so her opportunities were largely limited to promotional events. In 1959 she signed to play a series of exhibition matches against Karol Fageros before Harlem Globetrotter basketball games.
When the tour ended she won the singles and doubles titles at the Pepsi Cola World Pro Tennis Championships in Cleveland, but received only $500 in prize money.
5 Interesting Facts about Althea Gibson
- She Was Friends With Sugar Ray Robinson & His Wife
- She Was Inducted Into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971
- Gibson Won 5 Grand Slam Singles Titles & 6 Grand Slam Doubles Titles
- Alice Marble Pushed for Gibson to Be Admitted to the Tournament
- Gibson Broke Tennis’ Color Barrier When She Made Her Debut at the 1950 U.S. Nationals