Arthur Ashe Profile: Bryce Pereira
We recently sat down with UCLA tennis alum (and current USC tennis coach) Bryce Pereira to chat about his love for the sport, what keeps him going, and what Arthur Ashe’s legacy means to him. Read the interview below, and shop the looks at arthurashe.com here.
Arthur Ashe: What does the name “Arthur Ashe” mean to you?
Bryce Pereira: Arthur Ashe once said, “I don’t want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments. That’s no contribution to society. That [tennis] was purely selfish; that was for me.” This really resonates with me because it speaks volumes about the kind of man he was. Arthur was remarkable on the court — becoming the first African American man to win grand slams and have an unbelievable tennis career. However, his impact on society is what I remember him by the most. He was a social activist who wasn’t afraid to speak up for what he stood for. Not only was he an icon on the court, he was one off the court as well.
AA: What are your plans for the future?
BP: You can find me on the court in the future — competing, coaching, and mentoring the younger generation. After I finish competing, my plan is to always stay involved in tennis because I truly love the sport. I want to pass down my experiences and knowledge about the game to the younger generation so they can cherish the game as much as I do. As long as I can help just one kid become a better person on and off the court, I will feel accomplished.
AA: What’s an achievement you’re especially proud of?
BP: In 2017, I was awarded the United States Tennis Association Evelyn Houseman Lifetime Sportsmanship Award. This is my favorite accomplishment because I hold myself to a certain standard with how I behave and treat others on and off the court. This is the most rewarding achievement of my life thus far, because it is beyond my talents as a player; it is a reward for how I present myself on the court and an acknowledgement of my character as an individual. Sportsmanship can’t be bought or traded or otherwise acquired. It is who you are.
AA: What’s your favorite piece in the Arthur Ashe collection?
BP: I’d have to say my favorite piece from the collection is the 1975 Tennis Polo [in Centre Court] that he wore at Wimbledon the year he defeated Jimmy Connors. The cotton mesh knit design of the polo is so unique. It is unlike any other polo that I own. It is a timeless piece that I wear on and off the court.
AA: What motivates you?
BP: For me personally, it was never all about the wins and losses but more about getting 1% better as an athlete and a person. I have many trophies and medals to validate my tennis accomplishments. However, it is the lessons I have been able to learn from athletics that are unparalleled. Tennis teaches so many lessons that can be applied to everyday life. I always try to remind myself how lucky I am able to play the game I love. Tennis has opened so many doors for me and showered my life with so many blessings. This mindset has been a huge motivational tool for me throughout my life.
AA: How does Ashe’s legacy speak to you personally?
BP: Arthur Ashe attended and played tennis at UCLA in 1963. I am proud to say that I too am a Bruin and played collegiate tennis at UCLA for 5 years. I would see Arthur Ashe’s photo in our team room every single day that I was at UCLA. Looking at the photo and seeing the legacy he left behind makes me proud to have a shared Bruin heritage with him. It makes me want to speak up and stand strong for what I am passionate about in my own personal life.