Posted in: Tattle, Tennis

Arthur Ashe film reveals the extraordinary person behind the tennis | Dalya Alberge

A film about the only black man to win Wimbledon, by Indian film-maker Ashok Amritraj, tells the story of his civil activism

He was a professional tennis player, who represented India – the country of his birth – at Wimbledon and the US Open, before becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest players, producing films with stars from Cate Blanchett to Angelina Jolie. Now Ashok Amritraj is recalling his earlier career by making a major feature film about Arthur Ashe, the American athlete who became the only black man to win Wimbledon.

What gives the film a special touch is that Amritraj himself played Ashe in the mid-1970s in St Louis, Missouri. He lost, but his admiration for his opponent, both on and off the court, remains undimmed. He describes him as a “charismastic” player, as well as “a gentleman and an intellectual” in person.

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