TENNIS GREATS: ARTHUR ASHE, ROD LAVER, KEN ROSEWALL and STAN SMITH Four tennis greats sign a first day cover commemorating the Centennial of Sokols in America. First Day Cover signed:

Sale Price $552.50

Reg. $650.00

Condition: lightly creased, slightly soiled, otherwise fine condition
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TENNIS GREATS: ARTHUR ASHE, ROD LAVER, KEN ROSEWALL and STAN SMITH Four tennis greats sign a first day cover commemorating the Centennial of Sokols in America. First Day Cover signed: "All Best Wishes/Ken Rosewall/Australia", "'Peace',/Arthur Ashe", "Good luck/Rod Laver" and "Good Luck/Stan/Smith", 6½x3¾. First Day Cover commemorating the Centennial of Sokols in America, 5-cent stamp affixed, postmarked Washington, D.C., February 15, 1965, FIRST DAY OF ISSUE. ARTHUR ASHE (1943-1993) was the first Black American player named to the U.S. Davis Cup team (1963-1970, 1975-1976, 1978). Still an amateur, he won the 1968 U.S. Open. Ashe also won the 1970 Australian Open and defeated Jimmy Connors to win the 1975 Wimbledon singles title. In 1988, tests showed that Ashe had HIV, probably from a blood transfusion during his 1983 bypass surgery. He died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993 at the age of 49. In 1996, Richmond, Virginia, the city that banned young Arthur Ashe from its whites-only tennis courts, dedicated a 12-foot bronze statue on Monument Avenue to the late athlete. The U.S. Open is now played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. Australian tennis star ROD "ROCKET" LAVER (born in 1938) was the first to win the sport's Grand Slam of four top tournaments more than once (1962 and 1969). Officially ranked No. 1 in the world in 1961, 1962, 1968 and 1969, Laver also helped the Australian Davis Cup team win four consecutive victories (1959-1962). Australian tennis great KEN ROSEWALL (born in 1934), who turned professional in 1956, was injury free over an exceptionally long career (he was still winning tournaments at age 43). Rosewall's tournament wins include Australian singles (1953, 1955, 1971, 1972) and doubles (1953, 1956, 1972) championships, French singles (1953, 1968) and a doubles (1956) championship, doubles championships at Wimbledon (1953, 1956) and U.S. singles (1956, 1970) and a doubles (1956) championship. Rosewall, who was still ranked in the Top 15 in the world at the end of his career, was also a singles finalist at Wimbledon in 1954, 1956, 1970 and 1974. American tennis star STAN SMITH (born in 1946) won 39 singles tennis tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1971 and Wimbledon in 1972, along with 61 doubles triumphs. Ranked No. 1 in the world in 1971 and 1972, Smith was America's top ranked player in 1969, 1971, 1972 and 1973. As a Davis Cup player ten times, he helped lead the Americans to victory seven times. All of these signers have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (Ashe in 1985, Laver in 1981, Rosewall in 1980 and Smith in 1987). Lightly creased and rippled. Slightly soiled at lower right margin, stray ink marks at upper margin. Authentication label affixed to verso (no show through). Overall, fine condition.

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