Tuesday, February 10, 2009

History Lesson

SA Tennis Open : Day 7

MMT puts it down:

I just hope people recognize the significance of [Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's victory at the South African Open]. It's the first time the tournament's been held since 1995, a watershed moment in the history of the country, as the first year of the first term of Nelson Mandela as president. He's the first black man to win there, and ironically the first man of African descent to win this tournament as well.

Arthur Ashe first applied for a visa to play this tournament in 1968 and was denied, even though he was the winner of the first US Open. It initiated a long held personal committment to ending apartheid. He didn't get to play there until 1973, where he lost in the final to Jimmy Connors, but made news by refusing to enter the court until the audience was full integrated, with no sections reserved for any race.

For Jo-Willy Tsonga, son of a Congolese handballer to win the first South African Open held in 14 years, and to be the first black man to win it in the history of the tournament, is great news, a really positive story in the history of tennis, and just generally a wonderful thing.

I can't wait to see the replays (blah!) on TTC tonight and tomorrow.


Helen W said...

Here's a nice piece by Neil Harman at Times OnLine about Tsonga's reaction to the racist remark of Carol Thatcher (among other things):

"Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beats insult and injury"