Everyone familiar with world-class tennis and its stars are familiar with the names Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi (representing Pakistan) and Amir Hadad (representing Israel).
These two players excel not only at tennis but at being true humanitarians. The tennis world is also familiar with the story of the life and monumental tennis successes of Arthur Ashe (representing the USA).
Born on July 10, 1943, and raised in Richmond, Virginia during the Civil Rights era, Arthur Ashe is the first African- American male to win a Grand Slam event.
In addition to achieving the highest honors in the world of tennis, he also advanced the cause of social justice in his own country as well as South Africa as it struggled toward racial integration.
Arthur Ashe’s body lay in state at the Governor’s Mansion upon his death on February 6, 1993. To anyone familiar with the history of the old South in the US, the enormity of this honor is apparent.
His statue stands proudly on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. It stands alongside the heroes of the Confederacy. That’s why when Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Amir Hadad teamed up for doubles competition at Wimbledon and the US Open it led to them both being awarded the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award.
They played TOGETHER even though their respective communities in both Pakistan and Israel pressured them NOT to do so. By doing so they resisted social injustice on behalf of themselves, Pakistan, Israel, the world of tennis, and the world at large. We should all commend their efforts and perhaps applaud others who do the same.
The International Tennis Federation
The ITF is an international body for the governing of all the tennis associations from all over the world. It came into existence in 1913 when an association was formed by twelve groups, called the International Lawn Tennis Federation.
Originally based in Paris, the ITF tennis base moved to London during the Second World War II. It further got a name change in 1977 when the people over at ITF tennis realized that all tennis is not played on grass and that the name was a misnomer.
The offices and the funds of the same were shifted from Paris to London during World War II, from where it has continued to remain functional to this day. Its achievements are recognized in the annual event which is known as the ITF Year.
It has grown in status and magnitude over the years and it currently has a membership of 205 tennis associations from all over the world. It is the leading governing body for all tennis that is played internationally. It organizes a variety of tournaments over a year, namely the four Grand Slams- the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.
Apart from these, it also holds national team competitions which include the Davis Cup, The Hopman Cup, and the Fed Cup, for men, mixed, and women respectively. The ITF tennis is also primarily responsible for the maintenance of an under-18 junior tennis player’s circuit, both for boys as well as girls.