Arthur Ashe, considered to be one of the most iconic players in the history of professional tennis, won his first professional Grand Slam title at the US Open on 8 September 1968. He defeated Dutchman Tom Okker 14–12, 5–7, 6–3, 3–6, 6–3 in the final which was back then played on a grass surface at the West Side Tennis Club, Forest Hills in New York City. The achievement was a historic feat as Ashe became the first black man to capture a Grand Slam title. It was also the first US Open played in the Open Era and the fourth Grand Slam of the year.
It was Ashe’s first of the three singles Grand Slam titles he would win in his career. He would also win the Australian Open in 1970 and the Wimbledon in 1975. In 1968 Ashe also won the United States Amateur Championships becoming the first and the only man to win both the amateur and the national championships in the same year.
This would also turn out to be a bane for him as due to his amateur status, Ashe could not collect the $14,000 first-prize money. He was paid only $20 daily expenses for his historic triumph at the US Open. To this day, Arthur Ashe remains the only black man to win a US Open, a Wimbledon and an Australian Open title. He officially retired from the game in April 1980.
Such was the profound influence of Arthur Ashe on the game of tennis that the centre court of the United States Tennis Association where the current incarnation of the US Open is currently held is named after him.