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A product of change

Originally Published: February 6, 2003
By Greg Garber | ESPN.com

Thomas Blake picked up a tennis racket for the first time in 1966, when he was stationed in Turkey with the U.S. Air Force. His friend Ray Pitts agreed to teach him the refined game if he would reciprocate and school him in the finer points of basketball.

When Arthur Ashe, a 25-year-old Army lieutenant, won the U.S. Open in 1968, Blake was thrilled, inspired -- and proud of his fellow African-American. Tennis became more important to Blake that day. Seven years later, he was playing an American ...

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