Before Serena Williams: 8 Amazing Facts About the Tennis Icon Althea Gibson

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Her Early Career Was Impressive

Within a year, Gibson became a tennis champion playing tournaments hosted by the American Tennis Association that was Black operated and owned and focused entirely on the success of Black players. In 1944 and 1945, she held two ATA titles. Between 1947-1956, she won ten straight titles, making her one of the best.

 

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She Broke Down Barriers

In the 1950s, Gibson hit her stride. She was ranked seventh by the United States Tennis Association in 1952 and she graduated from Florida A&M in 1953. However, this decade was marked by her groundbreaking appearance at Wimbledon. It all started when Gibson was selected in the U.S National Championships, now known as the U.S Open, on her 23rd birthday. She competed against reigning champion Louise Brough but lost in a rain-plagued three-set match. Her loss attracted national media attention anyway, and this loss helped launch her international career.

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