What was Arthur Ashe’s Net Worth?
Arthur Ashe was an American professional tennis player who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of his death. After adjusting for inflation, that’s the same as $4 million in today’s dollars. Arthur Ashe was the first black man ever to win the singles titles at the US Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. He also won two Grand Slam titles in doubles. Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, Ashe became a prominent AIDS activist before passing away from complications of the disease in early 1993.
Early Life and High School
Arthur Ashe Jr. was born on July 10, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia to Arthur Sr. and Mattie. He had a younger brother named Johnnie. When Ashe was six, his mother passed away from complications related to pre-eclampsia. He was subsequently raised by his father in the caretaker’s cottage of the 18-acre Brookfield park, the largest blacks-only public playground in Richmond. There, Ashe played tennis, and was eventually noticed by tennis instructor Ron Charity. He continued playing tennis at Maggie L. Walker High School; he was also mentored by physician and coach Robert Walter Johnson. For his senior year, Ashe transferred to Sumner High School in St. Louis, Missouri, as racial segregation in Richmond restricted his ability to play tennis during the school year. In St. Louis, he lived with and was coached by Richard Hudlin.
Higher Education and Military Service
In 1963, Ashe enrolled at UCLA on a tennis scholarship. During his time as a Bruin, he was coached by J. D. Morgan and practiced frequently with his tennis idol, Pancho Gonzales. Ashe was also a member of the ROTC. After graduating from UCLA with his BA in business administration, he joined the US Army. Assigned to the US Military Academy at West Point, Ashe worked as a data processor and headed the Academy’s tennis program. He was discharged from the Army in early 1969 as a 1st Lieutenant, and subsequently received the National Defense Service Medal.
Ashe won his first major tennis tournament in 1961, at the Eastern Clay Court Championships. Two years later, he won the Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles, and also became the first black tennis player ever to play for the US men’s national tennis team at the Davis Cup. Ashe went on to win the Eastern Grass Court Championships in 1964, and in 1965 won both the NCAA singles and doubles titles. In 1966 and 1967, he reached the final of the Australian Championship, but was defeated in both years by Roy Emerson. However, Ashe won the 1967 US Men’s Clay Court Championships. He had his greatest career year yet in 1968, winning both the US Amateur Championships and the US Open, the first of the open era. In the process, Ashe became the first black man to win the US Open. At the end of 1968, he helped the US men’s national tennis team win the Davis Cup; the team would go on to win two more consecutive Davis Cups in 1969 and 1970.
Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title in early 1970: the Australian Open. By defeating Dick Crealy in straight sets, he became the first non-Australian player to win the title in 11 years. Ashe reached the final of the Australian Open again in 1971, but this time lost in straight sets to Ken Rosewall. However, he won the doubles title at the French Open with Marty Riessen a few months later. In 1972, Ashe reached the final of the US Open, where he suffered a devastating loss to Ilie Năstase after blowing a 4-1 lead in the fourth set. The next year, he was finally granted a visa to enter apartheid South Africa, and went on to win the doubles title with Tom Okker at the South African Open. In 1975, Ashe won the WCT Finals by defeating Björn Borg. Moreover, he won Wimbledon by upsetting defending champion Jimmy Connors. Ashe played for a few more years, winning the Australian Open doubles title with Tony Roche in 1977. After undergoing heart surgery, he officially retired in 1980.
Following his retirement from tennis playing, Ashe began writing for Time magazine and the Washington Post. He also did commentary for ABC Sports and HBO; founded the National Junior Tennis League; and served as captain of the US men’s national tennis team at the Davis Cup from 1981 to 1985. Elsewhere, Ashe was a prominent civil rights activist, participating in anti-apartheid protests in South Africa and fighting for racial integration.
Marriage and Child
In early 1977, Ashe married photographer and graphic artist Jeanne Moutoussamy. Close to a decade later, the couple adopted a daughter named Camera.
Health and Death
Ashe suffered a heart attack in the summer of 1979, and at the end of the year underwent a quadruple bypass operation. He underwent a second heart surgery in 1983 to correct the previous surgery. Following that, Ashe became national campaign chairman for the American Heart Association. Later, in 1988, Ashe was hospitalized after experiencing paralysis in his right arm. It was eventually discovered that he had contracted HIV from blood transfusions during his second heart surgery. Ashe kept his diagnosis a secret from the public until 1992, after which he founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. He passed away from complications of the disease on February 6, 1993. That June, Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.