AN HISTORIC TENNIS COURT IN LYNCHBURG IS GETTING NATIONAL ATTENTION. FROM THE 1940’S TO 1970’S… A LOCAL DOCTOR COACHED AND FOSTERED THE CAREERS OF TENNIS LEGENDS .. ARTHUR ASHE AND ALTHEA GIBSON… WHO BOTH BROKE RACIAL BARRIERS IN THE SPORT. WSLS 10’S MAGDALA LOUISSAINT SPOKE WITH THAT DOCTOR’S GRANDSON … ABOUT HOW THEY PLAN TO CONTINUE HIS LEGACY IN THE HILL CITY. ON THE 1400 BLOCK OF PIERCE STREET IN LYNCHBURG SITS A HISTORIC GEM… THAT YOU WOULDN’T NOTICE DRIVING BY. ALTHEA GIBSON AND ARTHUR ASHE BROKE RACIAL BARRIERS IN TENNIS… AND THIS GRAVEL COVERED GROUND IS WHERE THEY PERFECTED THEIR CRAFT. LANGE JOHNSON/ PRESIDENT OF WHIRLWIND JOHNSON FOUNDATION: “SERENA WILLIAMS AND VENUS WILLIAMS AND ALL WHO CAME AFTER ARTHUR AND ALTHEA SHOULD PAY HOMAGE TO THIS MAN, WITHOUT HIS BARRIER BREAKING EFFORTS. I’M NOT SURE WE’D BE IN THIS SPORT AS HEAVILY AS WE ARE TODAY.” THAT MAN… IS DOCTOR ROBERT JOHNSON… “WHIRLWIND” TO THOSE WHO KNEW HIM WELL. HE COACHED GIBSON, ASHE, AND HUNDREDS OF TENNIS ATHLETES FROM THE 1940S TO THE 1970S. “I USED TO SPEND TIME WARMING ARTHUR UP BEFORE MATCHES WHEN HE WAS ON TOUR. EVEN WHEN THAT WAS GOING ON IT STILL HARD TO IMAGINE THIS MAN HAD THE VISION BACK IN THE MID 1940S TO TRANSFORM THE GAME.” MAGDALA LOUISSAINT: FOR FOUR DECADES DOCTOR JOHNSON’S TENNIS COURT SAT HERE UNTAMED AND UNTOUCHED. TODAY HIS GRANDSON, LANGE JOHNSON, WANTS TO MAKE THIS TENNIS COURT AND HIS GRANDFATHER’S HOUSE A LAUNCHING PAD FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF TENNIS PLAYERS.” “WE’LL INSTALL A MUSEUM ON THE GROUND FLOOR ON THE HOME WHEN WE RESTORE IT. SO THAT HISTORY CAN BE SHARED FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.” IN LATE JULY…THE UNITED STATES TENNIS ASSOCIATION PUT UP 25 TO 30 THOUSAND DOLLARS TO HELP WITH RENOVATING THE TENNIS COURT. BRENDAN MCINTYRE/ USTA DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS: “WE’RE JUST DOING A SMALL PART IN TRYING TO HONOR THE LEGACY THAT HE SO RIGHTLY DESERVES. AND TO BRING ABOUT SOME AWARENESS TO AN INDIVIDUAL THAT IMPACTED THE GAME AND OUR SOCIETY AT LARGE.” IN LYNCHBURG, MAGDALA LOUISSAINT, WSLS 10 HERE’S A LOOK AT WHAT’S COMING UP

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Dennis Veasley

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