Arthur Ashe becomes first African-American member of U.S. Davis Cup team

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On this day in 1963, Arthur Ashe became the first African-American selected to play on the United States Davis Cup team. The Davis Cup is the premier men’s international team tennis tournament, having originated over one hundred years ago in 1900 as a challenge from Harvard students against Britain. A student at the University of California, Los Angeles at the time, Ashe won straight sets against his Venezuelan opponent Orlando Bracamonte, helping his team reach the final against Australia. The U.S. beat Australia, ending the Aussies’ four-year winning streak. Ashe would continue to play in the Davis Cup from 1965-1970, then again in ’74, ’76, and ’78. The American team won finals four times in that period (From ’68-’70 and then again in ’78). After retiring from tennis in 1980, he returned to the Davis Cup as U.S. team captain in 1981, leading them to back-to-back victories.

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