It has been 24 years since Malivai Washington, the last African American to play a Grand Slam final, will play the Wimbledon final against Richard Krajicek. Seven years later, Andy Roddick would be the last American to step on that same round, two realities that exemplify the crisis, on the one hand, of Yankee tennis, and the great dominance of Big3, on the other, that began just the following season.
“It is distressing. It is unfortunate and a little sad,” says Malivai on ‘CNN’, when he values and analyzes both realities. “It amazes me that we don’t have more Americans on the one hand, but also more black men who are not succeeding at a high level. The last American to reach the big final was Andy Roddick in 2003. A lot of that has to seeing someone named Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in the last 15 years. “
– Possible causes? The power of other sports that attract attention.
“A five-year-old or ten-year-old black boy can turn on the television on Saturday or Sunday during any college football or professional football season, and he can see a lot of players who look like him. And so they choose to play soccer. American. In tennis there are no references. “
– And Malivai did have several references.
“I loved Yannick Noah. They asked me to spar him at the US Open when I was still a junior. And I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I could hear that French accent walking towards me. We exchanged a few words. He said, ‘ I heard you’re a promising young player, good luck. ‘It was a special moment for me. “
– Wasghinton tells in the interview the racism suffered in his adolescence.
“I experienced a lot of racism in tennis and outside of tennis. There were times when when you played a youth tournament of various age groups you just knew, or were told, that you weren’t going to play at that particular club. They didn’t allow black players at that club in particular. “
– That is why, among other things, I create your Foundation, which encourages the practice of tennis in depressed areas.
“Children often come from very difficult financial situations. But that can never be their excuse for lack of success or lack of education, because this Foundation exists, that is its advantage. I think what I took from Arthur throughout the years is that as human beings and as athletes who play internationally, we have a responsibility to do more than just hit a tennis ball. And I’m going to paraphrase here in one of your books: ‘If you only remember me as a tennis player, I failed. I didn’t, I didn’t do my job. ‘That idea has always stuck with me and I’ve tried to fulfill it somehow. “