Author Pete Bodo acknowledges that the 1975 Wimbledon final isn’t on the short list of great Wimbledon finals. After all, Arthur Ashe was clearly the better player on this occasion, scoring his first victory ever over defending champion Jimmy Connors, 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4, in the first all-American Wimbledon since 1947. Still, the match was a compelling study in contrasts between Ashe, the well-mannered African-American, and Connors, the brash, white maverick who ushered in the age of hard-charging celebrity stars. This account, which appears on the 40th anniversary of their memorable match, dissects not only the match itself, but the tennis developments that ultimately led to their center-court showdown.
Here’s an excerpt from Ashe vs. Connors:
“In the light of future events, Ashe’s win can be regarded as a final, thunderous salvo fired on behalf of the old guard and the values it represented. Ashe is the last American Grand Slam singles champion who earned his college degree. He was the last to serve in the Armed Forces. He subscribed to the code of the gentlemanly conduct, represented his country with pride and dignity, and took an active role in the affairs of his profession – to the benefit of his colleagues and peers. He also sought to become a true citizen of the world, taking full advantage of the opportunities the touring life afforded to experience other cultures.”