Bob Ryland was the first Black male professional tennis player in the U.S. An Illinois state and American Tennis Association junior champion, Ryland played college tennis at Xavier University of Louisiana and later, after serving in the U.S. Army during WWII, at Wayne State University and Tennessee A&I. After winning the 1954 and 1955 ATA national singles title, Ryland earned an invitation to the 1955 U.S. National Championships. In 1959, at the age of 39, Ryland was invited to the World Pro Tour Championships. A 62-year USPTA member, Ryland coached many notable players, including Harold Solomon, Bruce Foxworth, a young Arthur Ashe, and later, Venus and Serena Williams as teenagers. Ashe once famously said he wanted “to be good enough to beat Bob Ryland.” Throughout his life, Ryland battled against discrimination and segregation and paved the way for many other legends of the game. Ryland passed away on Aug. 2, 2020, at the age of 100.