Moving with Intention

Picture© Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe, AALC

“The ideal attitude is to be physically loose and mentally tight.” These were words spoken and lived by Arthur Ashe. Known for his strategic mind, Arthur Ashe operated with this intent on and off the tennis court. He chose his position and analyzed his opponents to exploit their weaknesses.

One prominent example of this precise tennis was his seemingly effortless battle with Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon finals. Arthur was considered the underdog against the heavily favored Connors and was thought to be past his tennis prime. He was still a strong player, but was not the dominant figure. This was in contrast to Connors position and skills as a heavy hitter. He had gone 99-4 the previous year, winning three Grand Slams including Wimbledon. Arthur came prepared though, after playing (and losing to) Connors three times before. He served strongly and hit softly.  Connors had difficulty responding and his frustration translated to a win for Ashe.

Another example of this was Arthur’s match against Cliff Richey in the semifinals of the 1972 US Open. Described as “elegant style verses bulldog veracity,” Arthur displays his mind for strategy by carefully placing his shots and putting Richey on the defensive.

This was indicative of Arthurs style. To this day, he is regarded for his elegant demeanor. You can see Arthur’s strategy in action in this brief video of highlights from his match against Richey here:

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