Gibson had to be more than a tennis champion. She had to battle segregation, angering whites and also of some blacks who disdained Gibson for playing in what they considered a sport of privileged people. She also faced gender barriers. Fellow player Tony Trabert, who won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open in 1955, said, "She hits the ball and plays like a man," Neil Amdur wrote in the New York Times.
But the sharecropper's daughter dispensed with expectations and comparisons. As the first African American to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament, Gibson paved the way for other minority players. And as an outstanding competitor, she paved the way for other women who wanted to play aggressive, serve-and-volley games. But she stood out mostly for her unfettered courage.
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- Althea Gibson - Life After Tennis
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