MaliVai “Mal” Washington
MaliVai Washington began playing tennis at the age of five and won his first title at eight years old. In 1996, he became the first African American man to reach a grand slam singles final since Arthur Ashe when he played in the Wimbledon finals.
MaliVai Washington was a former American professional tennis player. During his career, he reached the Men’s Singles Final at Wimbledon in 1996, won four ATP singles titles, reached 13 singles finals, and achieved a career-high singles ranking of World No. 11 in October 1992. In 1990, Mal was named the ATP Rookie of the Year. Washington also notched wins over Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Michael Chang, Gustavo Kuertan, and Ivan Lendl.
Washington’s 1996 Wimbledon finalist finish marked the first time an African American male reached a grand slam final since Arthur Ashe won the 1975 Wimbledon Singles title. MaliVai and Arthur remain the only two African American men to achieve that feat.
In 1996, Mal was a member of the United States Summer Olympics team and the US Davis Cup teams in 1993, 1996, and 1997. MaliVai suffered a debilitating knee injury at the 1997 US Davis Cup versus Gustavo Kuertan, ultimately leading to his retirement in 1999. Prior to his stellar professional career, MaliVai attended the University of Michigan, where he became a two-time all-American and finished his sophomore year ranked as the NCAA #1 tennis player in the nation.