ROBERT W. JOHNSON, JR., PIONEER AND CONTRIBUTOR




Robert W. Johnson, Jr. and his father, Dr. Robert Walter "Whirlwind" Johnson, integrated the sport of tennis and developed the talent of Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and other notable players. Gibson and Ashe were the first African-Americans to win major national and international singles championships, including the French Open, US Nationals (now the US Open), Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

For more than two decades, the father and son team operated an elite tennis boot camp on Dr. Johnson's backyard tennis court. Dr. Johnson opened his home to promising African-American tennis players with Robert W. Johnson, Jr. training them to achieve regional, national and international prominence.

In 1955, Robert W. Johnson, Jr. and his father won the National Father and Son Doubles Championships in Ohio, defeating Clark Graebner and his father, Paul.
Upon moving to the Washington DC area back in the late 1950's, Robert established a junior development program in the area, focused on any children interested in perfecting their tennis games. This work would continue for many years, after his father's passing in 1971.

Beyond training Althea, Arthur and close to 200 other youth during their summers in Lynchburg, Virginia, Robert W. Johnson, Jr. continued to give back to the community by sharing the knowledge he gained while training some of the best African—Americans to ever play the sport. He did this a lot of times without ever charging anyone for a lesson. He truly shared his knowledge with anyone willing to listen and anyone committed to winning and making a difference in the sport.

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