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RICHMOND, Va. – A statue honoring tennis legend Arthur Ashe in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, was spray painted Wednesday with the words “White Lives Matter” and “WLM.”

Ashe, who died in 1993, was the first black man to win Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the U.S. Open. His statue is situated on Richmond’s five-mile Monument Avenue, dotted with several prominent Confederate monuments, The New York Times reported.

According to passersby, a man in a blue T-shirt, dark red baseball cap and American flag bandanna spray paint “WLM” on the pedestal of the statue. Two people confronted the unidentified man and told the Times he said, “You guys tagged my statue, so I am tagging your statue.”

The graffiti was removed by the end of the day.

According to USA Today, the Confederate monuments displayed along the promenade include Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and Matthew Fontaine Maury, and protesters toppled the Davis statue last week.

Meanwhile, Virginia Gov.Ralph Northam ordered on June 3 the Lee statue be removed “as soon as possible,” USA Today reported.

The two passersby, joined by another local resident, told the Times the man returned to the Ashe statue while they were cleaning the graffiti from the pedestal, and one of the women recorded the exchange.

“Why is it OK to spray paint on this statue ‘Black Lives Matter’ and not ‘White Lives Matter’? What’s the difference?” the man asked the women, adding, “I’m not a racist. I just don’t agree with desecrating our property.”

When asked his name, the man replied, “Everybody.”

“Everybody that is here that has property value, everybody here that has paid to live here and is tired of seeing this,” the man, using expletives, said on the video obtained by the Times.

https://twitter.com/Suarez_CM/status/1273284280165240833

David Harris Jr., Ashe’s nephew, told the Times he was “disheartened” by the vandalism to his uncle’s statue.

“People are outraged that people choose to vandalize a statue that represents peace, prosperity, inclusion, education, and the life and true fabric of the country: children,” Harris said.

“It lets us know that there are folks out there that don’t believe in being inclusive. They believe in discriminatory acts and racism still,” he added.

Ashe, who fought publicly for racial equality and civil rights, also wrote, “A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete,” USA Today reported.