Bob Ryland

June 16, 2019

June 16, 2019 “I was the first black professional tennis player & today I turn 99. I say it is no big deal, no cause for celebration, just another year. There are many things I can not do now, but I accept that. I enjoy doing what I can do. I have played tennis all my life: Played on my high school team in Chicago and was a finalist in state singles. Played at Wayne State in Detroit and was one of the first black players to compete in the NCAA Championships and the first to reach the quarterfinals. In college I wasn’t allowed to eat in restaurants with my teammates. They would bring me my food on the bus, where I sometimes would sleep. I wasn’t bitter, all I wanted was to play tennis. After winning the American Tennis Association Mens’ title I was given a wild card to play at the USLTA Nationals (US Open) at Forest Hills in 1955, as one of the first few African Americans to play there. In 1959 I was invited to join Jack March’s World Pro Tennis Championships, becoming the first black pro player. When he was a kid, Arthur Ashe said

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