The modern version of tennis is credited to a Welsh major named Walter Clopton Wingfield, who patented the game in 1874. Wingfield gave his pastime two names: the Greek derived “sphairistike” and “lawn tennis.” Not surprisingly, the second name stuck.

Within a year, the All England Croquet Club at Wimbledon had added lawn tennis to the diversions offered to its members, and in 1877, the words “Lawn Tennis” were formally added to its name. That was also the year the club held its first championship in men’s singles. Tournament play for what we now call the U.S. Open began in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1881. Thus, the first two tennis Grand Slams were born—the first French Open was played in 1891, the Australian Open arrived in 1905, and in 1915 the U.S. Open moved to Forest Hills, New York.

For collectors of tennis memorabilia, anything from the 19th century is a prize, be it a wooden racquet strung with gut or an early trophy, although such pieces are mostly the stuff of museums and exclusive private collections.

More accessible are items from the 1920s, the so-called golden age of tennis. On the men’s side, when Bill Tilden wasn’t winning Wimbledon, René Lacoste (of crocodile-logo-shirt fame) was. Helen Wills Moody was the star among female players, winning Wimbledon eight times in the ’20s and ’30s, which stood as the record until Martina Navratilova won her ninth in 2000.

Vintage tennis memorabilia from the years between the wars include sports posters advertising matches at Wimbledon, the availability of courts at a luxury resort, or the latest Slazenger or Spalding tennis balls. More recently, posters from Roland Garros, site of the French Open, have gained a following. Ticket stubs to any of the Grand Slams are also collected.

For some reason, vintage tennis racquets are not as expensive as you might think they would be. Some people collect racquets of famous players. Jack Kramer swung a wooden Wilson, and his namesake racquet was introduced in 1948. Rod Laver and John McEnroe, whose on-court demeanor could not have been more different, both used a Dunlop Maxply, while Bjorn Born played with Bancrofts and Donnays.

Arthur Ashe was a racquet pioneer, playing a Head metal-and-plastic racquet called the Arthur Ashe Competition in 1969—its flat face was distinctive but did not last in tennis ci...

Today, the most widely collected tennis items are probably tennis-ball cans, from cardboard to metal, and player autographs. Collectors and fans look for signatures on everything from tennis balls to photographs, trading cards, and magazine covers.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Tennis Balls

Vintage Tennis Balls

Brad McCall serves up the definitive vintage tennis ball site ('hermetically sealed fresh under pressure'). Browse … [read review or visit site]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Tennis Racquet By Spalding New York Chicago Philadelphia 12 ½ Oz Racket2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Roger Federer Signed Psa/dna 10 Auto Grade AutographAntique Silverplate 1931 Loving Cup Tennis Trophy, No ReserveEarly Antique Harvard Trade Mark Wooden Wood Tennis Racket RacquetLawn Tennis Tape Measure, Working Well Fully Functioning, Sport Memobrabilia,Large Bronze Real Tennis Medal U S Court Tennis Championship Rare Excellent++ Vintage Wimbledon Fc Home Shirt 1995-96 Size: L / 42-44"1947 Fa Amateur Cup Final - Leytonstone V. WimbledonBronze Tennis Medal's Touquet Lawn Tennis Club 1927 & 1928 Pat Cash Headband Autographed Hand Signed Wimbledon Champion 1987Art Deco Sterling Silver Tennis Spoon C W L T C 19252006 Ace Authentic Tennis Bjorn Borg Legends Of The Game Auto Autograph 75/100Lot Of 7 Winston Tennis Ball Cans Unopened Vintage Can1950's Ronnie Moore (wimbledon), Postcard Sized Photo Originally Signed, Exc!Rare Vintage Unopened Can Of Cortland Tennis Balls Key Open Lid From 1954 NosVintage Polo Sport Ralph Lauren Navy Blue Cap Hat Big Usa Flag Golf Tennis CoolTommy Jansson Wimbledon Dons Speedway Photo 1970s 7 X 5 B/wWimbledon V Harringay Speedway Programme - 1 October 1934 (see Description)Tennis Cigarette Case 1930'sAfc Wimbledon €Afc Wimbledon €2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Black Auto Card Maria Sharapova 10/10 Rare2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Black Auto Maria Sharapova 08/10 RareHot Maria Sharapova Signed Photo Authentic Autograph Tennis2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Blue Auto Card Maria Sharapova 02/05 Rare2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Black Auto Card Maria Sharapova 02/10 RareVintage Wing Foot Tennis Racket Raquet With Unusual Stretcher / Press2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Blue Auto Card Maria Sharapova 04/05 Rare2014 Chinese H&l Series China Open Silver Auto Card Maria Sharapova 1/2 RareMartina Navratilova 2011 Sportkings Series E Silver Auto Vintage University Brand Tennis Balls Metal Key-wind Can - Unopened!! 1950sVintage Wood Wooden Tennis Racket Racquet Unknown Junior ?Vintage Leather Cow Hide Raquet Ball Tennis Bag Handmade In BrazilTable Tennis- Vintage Pin Back Badge Mistrovst Vi Sveta V Table Tennisu Praha 36Bjorn Borg Tennis Hand Signed 12x8 Autograph Photo WimbledonVintage Bancroft Bjorn Borg Personal 4 1/2”grip Wooden Tennis RacquetVintage 1905 A G Spalding Oval Tennis RacquetRoger Federer Topps Allen & Ginter Relic Card Match Worn Tennis Shirt. Attractive Brass Golf Ball Marker Wimbledon Common Golf Club - Windmill LogoVintage Wilson Metal Tennis Racket, T- 2000, Usa Made, Retro, 1970's, No Reserve2012 Caroline Wozniacki Ace Tennis French Open Match Used Towel/clay # Sm8-2 2013 Leaf Ace Angieszka Radwanska #'d Of 35 Base Auto TennisAntique Tennis Racquet Columbia Tennis Racket Made In Usa Solid Wood ColumbiaNfl - I Love Chargers - Canvas Tennis Shoes Womens 10* By The Bradford ExchangeNew Cross V Wimbledon Speedway Programme - 13 June 1934Vintage Wilson Pro Staff Classic 6.1 Si Tennis Racket- UnstrungWimbledon Speedway Gilt Badge 1972 Reeves BirminghamAnna Kournikora - Supermodel & Tennis Star Signed 8x102012 Sportkings E Bjorn Borg / Martina Navratilova Double Memorabilia Shirt /60Roger Federer Original! Rare! U.s. Open. Tennis. Nike Dri-fit T-shirt! Medium.Wimbledon Football Club Blue And Yellow Rosette 1970s?Antique Vintage Spalding Ardmore Wooden Tennis Racquet A.g. Spalding & Bros.Rare 1984 Poulain French Tennis Card Bjorn Borg 2013 Topps Five Star Baseball Bjorn Borg Autograph Card /49Roger Federer Signed Tennis Ball With CoaVintage Wilson Advantage Strata 4-1/2 Strata Bow Wood Racket Tennis Racquet #5Wilson Vintage Tennis Racket's (2) Stan SmithSi Poster Chris Evert 1977 Tennis UnusedVintage Wood Tennis Racquet - Imperial Davis - Excellent, Hardly UsedBjorn Borg Tennis Trading Card 1970s From Sweden #121

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > 'Holt das Ding nach Hause ..., October 20th

Mit prominenter Unterstützung zum Fed-Cup-Finale: In zahlreichen Videobotschaften auf der Facebookseite des Deutschen Tennis Bundes (DTB) meldet sich die nationale Sportprominenz per Videobotschaft zu Wort und wünscht der Mannschaft um ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > 'Williams-Brüder': Russlands ..., October 18th

Eine unglaubliche Entgleisung vom russischen Tennis-Präsidenten Shamil Tarpischev schockt den Tenniszirkus. Tarpischev zweifelte im russischen Fernsehen das Geschlecht von Serena und Venus Wiliams an. Nun wurde der Präsident für ein Jahr von der ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Anna-Lena Friedsam erstmals im ..., October 9th

Qualifikantin Anna-Lena Friedsam (Neuwied) hat eine weitere Überraschung geschafft und erstmals in ihrer Karriere das Viertelfinale eines WTA-Turniers erreicht. Beim Hallenturnier in Linz setzte sich die 20-Jährige im Achtelfinale nach nur 60 Minuten...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Mike und Bob Bryan gewinnen ..., October 8th

Die Bryan-Brüder Mike und Bob haben beim Turnier in Shanghai ihren 900. Sieg auf der ATP-Tour gefeiert. Das erfolgreichste Tennis-Doppel der Welt gewann am Mittwoch gegen Lukasz Kubot/Robert Lindstedt (Polen/Schweden) mit 6:3, 7:6 (7:1). Neben ...Read more

WTA-Turnier in Wuhan: Angelique Kerber erreicht Viertelfinale im Eiltempo, September 24th

Angelique Kerber ist beim WTA-Turnier in Wuhan ohne jede Mühe ins Viertelfinale eingezogen. Die Weltranglistenachte aus Kiel schlug die Tschechin Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in nur 64 Minuten mit 6:1, 6:1. Nächste Gegnerin ist Jelina Switolina (Ukraine) ...Read more

Neuer Trainer: Sabine Lisicki setzt probeweise auf Marc-Kevin Goellner, September 23rd

Sabine Lisicki hat auf ihrer Trainerbank einen erneuten Personalwechsel vorgenommen. Der ehemalige Davis-Cup-Spieler Marc-Kevin Goellner wird nach seinen ersten Einsätzen für die Berlinerin beim WTA-Turnier in Wuhan bis zu ihrem Zweitrunden-Aus ...Read more