Born in Liverpool, Buxton’s family had fled the Russian pogroms at the turn of the century. Althea Gibson broke the color barrier in the world of tennis in the 1950s.  When it was over, she remained abroad, winning 16 of 18 tournaments in Europe and Asia against many of the world's best players. photos, "Martina [Navratilova] couldn't touch her. [Her] legacy ... lives on not only in the stadiums of professional tournaments, but also in schools and parks throughout the nation.  The Althea Gibson Cup seniors tournament is held annually in Croatia, under the auspices of the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Every time a Black child or a Hispanic child or an Islamic child picks up a tennis racket for the first time, Althea touches another life.  In 2005 Gibson's friend Bill Cosby endowed the Althea Gibson Scholarship at her alma mater, Florida A&M University.
On court, though, Gibson’s high expectations made her a demanding ally.
, While she broke course records during individual rounds in several tournaments, Gibson's highest ranking was 27th in 1966, and her best tournament finish was a tie for second after a three-way playoff at the 1970 Len Immke Buick Open. The American tennis player Althea Gibson, who has died from respiratory failure aged 76, was the first black singles champion at Wimbledon and the US Open. magazines  "I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps", wrote Venus Williams. That really annoyed my mother, who drew herself up to her full 5ft 2in and said, ‘Well, I’m awfully sorry, too. “Our surname had been something like Bakstansky’, she explains, “but they anglicised it to Buxton.”. “She brought this attitude,” remembers Buxton.  A month later she defeated Brough in straight sets to win her first US National Championship. sfn error: no target: CITEREFGibson_and_Curtis1968 (.
 Under Johnson's patronage—he would later mentor Arthur Ashe as well—Gibson gained access to more advanced instruction and more important competitions, and later, to the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA, later known as the USTA). It would be 15 years before another non-white woman—Evonne Goolagong, in 1971—won a Grand Slam championship; and 43 years before another African-American woman, Serena Williams, won her first of six US Opens in 1999, not long after faxing a letter and list of questions to Gibson.  Later that year she entered Florida A&M University (FAMU) on a full athletic scholarship and was a member of the Beta Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., Despite her growing reputation as an elite-level player, Gibson was effectively barred from entering the premier American tournament, the United States National Championships (now the US Open) at Forest Hills.  In 1950, in response to intense lobbying by ATA officials and retired champion Alice Marble—who published a scathing open letter in the magazine American Lawn Tennis—Gibson became the first Black player to receive an invitation to the Nationals, where she made her Forest Hills debut a few days after her 23rd birthday.
Buxton will be recognised at the ceremony for her loyal support of Gibson.  She appeared as a celebrity guest on the TV panel show What's My Line?
, During this period, Gibson also pursued her long-held aspirations in the entertainment industry. In 1956, she became the first African American to win a Grand Slam title (the French Championships).  In the spring of 1953 she graduated from Florida A&M and took a job teaching physical education at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
The loser always has an excuse; the winner always has a program. " Gibson, for her part, strengthened her confidence immeasurably during the six-week tour. President Eisenhower had sent Gibson on a goodwill tour, playing exhibition matches with the American Karol Fageros, Buxton playing in tournaments. Despite being among the top players, neither had a doubles partner for the 1956 French Open. Her body was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Orange near her first husband, Will Darben.. In 1951, Gibson became the first black player to compete at Wimbledon. , In November 2017, the Council of Paris inaugurated the Gymnase Althea Gibson, a public multisport gymnasium in the 12th arrondissement of Paris. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.
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