Experiencing the History and Heritage of Forest Hills with Virginia Wade and Johnnie Ashe

The weekend before this year’s 2018 U.S. Open was a special one at the original home of the event, the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, NY. The start of our country’s greatest tennis event, the United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship (later U.S. Open), began at this location in 1915. And in 1978, when the event was too large for the Forest Hills stadium, they moved it to it’s current location at Flushing Meadows. I was lucky enough to be at the Heritage Dinner the weekend before the Open to enjoy the 50-year celebration of the 1968 U.S. Open played here. To celebrate, the winners of the 1968 event, Virginia Wade and the late, great Arthur Ashe were honored. It was a great privilege to hear Virginia talk about the struggles early on as women fought for equality. And Johnnie Ashe gave an extraordinary speech on the sacrifices he made so that his brother could continue to move the game and our society forward through sport. It was an honor to be a part of the evening, and to share in this piece of history that has helped shape our sport into what it is today. If ever you have the opportunity to visit and play at West Side Tennis Club, it’s a wonderful experience and a storied part of U.S. Open history.