Two Great Tennis Players

October 27, 2008

His childhood was a huge tragedy. Even before he was born, three of his older siblings died. When he was barely 18, his mother died. Three years later, his father and brother died. At the young age of 22, he was the only survivor of a once big family.

He was encouraged to play Tennis by a relative, who considered it to be a form of therapy for his grief.

Five years later, he became the first American player to win a tournament at Wimbledon, in England. In the 1920’s he dominated the sport of Tennis like no one else. He won seven US Championships, three Wimbledon titles. In fact, his form was so good during his peak that he won 57 games in a row.

He was Bill Tilden, one of the greatest Tennis players of all time.


When he was barely 6 years, his mother passed away. To avoid his loneliness, he started playing Tennis. It did not take a long time for him to come to the main stage. In 1969, he won both US Open and the Davis Cup for his country. Yet, in that year, he was denied entrance to a South African tournament because he was black. He then started using his star status to help African American people to achieve equality. He also won the Wimbledon on a come back effort.

In 1980, he had a heart stroke; in the hospital during surgery, he was given HIV infected blood. He contacted AIDS. Still, for 13 years, he fought to bring awareness about AIDS worldwide.

One of his fans wrote a letter asking him that while there were five hundred billion people on the planet, why God chose him for the deadly disease? To which, he replied – “Every year fifty million people start playing Tennis, 50000 people come to the circuit, 5000 reach the Grand slams, 50 reach Wimbledon, 4 to the semi-finals, 2 to the finals and only one player among all wins the title. When I was holding the Cup (After winning the Wimbledon), I never asked God “Why me?”. And today in pain too, I should not be asking God, “Why me?”  

He was Arthur Ashe, another renowned Tennis player of his time.

It is from these great people that we must take inspiration. Not the hero’s and heroine’s of Bollywood.


Destination Infinity


  1. Truly inspirational stuff!!!

    It is from these great people that we must take inspiration. Not the hero’s and heroine’s of Bollywood.

    Well said! Well said! Well said! It is indeed terrible if people look to the spoilt, rowdy brats of lowly Bollywood for inspiration.

  2. But that’s what is happening in the majority of the cases. When I was living in a PG, the guys there used to either watch the bollywood songs or the movies. (The Tamil population – Vadivel jokes). Not that there were many other options in the TV. That’s why I have decided not to buy a TV!

    Destination Infinity

  3. Oh.. you are so cool and so determined. Not having a TV. This is a truly inspirational post. I also mention the two lines Raj has mentioned.

    But at times some characters in a movie inspires you much. Kabhir Khan in Chak de.. then the character of Aamir in Taare Zameen Par and If you know tamil movies Mohan character in Mounaraagam.. I know they are too few but they too affect people much.

  4. One more thing.. I too stopped watching TV except for cricket.. maybe because its my passion from my childhood.. and a small request from me….
    I want to you to post more posts on our country and lives.. as I think you can do justice to whatever you write.

  5. I knew about Arthur Ashe but not the first player. He carried such a mature head over his shoulder.

  6. @Kanagu: There are lot many movies which are inspiring – Along with the movies that you have mentioned, films like Taxi 9211, Sarfarosh etc. in Bollywood. And films like Anjali, Mozhi and much more in Tamil. But the issue is, there are few movies like that and most of the population (Atleast in my PG) prefers watching item numbers and their related movies! A post on ‘Indian’ cricket is following and yes, I would also love to write more on issues affecting India and our lives…. But we also need to take positive examples from other nations and cultures. I wish more bloggers start exploring on this angle, so that all of us could learn.

    @Alka: Actually I forgot the name ‘Arthur Ashe’ but remember the quote by him…. I was searching for the player through the quote in the internet, when I stumbled upon ‘Bill Tilden’ also and I thought it would be good for everyone to know about him.

    Destination Infinity

  7. Kanagu and Destination Infinity,

    The characters that are played out on the silver screen are not real. So I believe one should never look up to those imaginary characters for any kind of inspiration. There is a world of difference between reel life and real life. We need to draw inspiration from real-life heroes who have overcome great odds to triumph, like these tennis players.

  8. @scitech

    A human who does the extraordinary things only able to inspire people. What’s wrong if we see that character who was extraordinary and not the actor?

  9. @destination infinity
    that’s nice. so we can try and find how we can change our system effectively.

  10. @Scietech and Kanagu,

    This point of where to take inspiration from, had been confusing me for quite a long time. After a point, I decided to take inspiration from History. Because, they might have been very close to what would have happened some time back. Boy, must admit that I felt taking inspiration from reel life is much better than real life at a point. What all our “Civilized ancestors” have done!

    @Kanagu: I am not sure if we can actually change the system effectively. I am here in the blogosphere to find out!

    Destination Infinity

  11. @destination infinity
    we can take inspiration from history for sure.
    And surely we can change our system effective.. I am thinking a lot about this one again and again. And we must remember that “everything is within us and we can achieve what we desire.”

  12. It is useful content.

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