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    

Ca 1880 Lopsided J Foy Of London Very Rare Racquet Early Antique Tennis RacketCa. 1885 Wright & Ditson Boston Special Very Early Antique Tennis Racket VintageVery Rare & Early Ca. 1880 Lopsided Head Horsman Maker Antique Tennis Racket1906 Sterling Silver Tennis Trophy Flask Presented To Noted Tennis PlayerAndy Murray Team Gb Davis Cup Match Worn Tennis Jacket Size XlAntique Victorian Silver Plate & Leather Hip Flask. Lawn Tennis Prize 18932005 Ace Signature Series Moments Auto #sm6 Maria Sharapova /50 Bgs 9 Auto 10Ca. 1900 Wood Press For Antique Tennis Racket - Holds Up To 4 Rackets!Ca. 1900 Antique Lawn Tennis Tape Measure W/ Original Box By Dean BedingtonAuthentic Louis Vuitton Squash Racquet Monogram Vintage Cover Case (1971)Harry C Lee Antique Tennis Racket Ca 1930 Venus Fishtail Handle Vintage RacquetVintage Table Tennis Unusual Strung Ping Pong BatSerena Williams Signed Authentic Autograph Tennis Ball Ace Authentic Coa Us OpenVintage Prince Woodie Graphite Tennis RacketRare 1950's Dunlop Maxply Dura Plas Overlay Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetSpalding Don Budge 1940s Model Wood Vintage Tennis Racquet+1928 Top Flite Antique Wood Flat Top Tennis Racquet Spalding W/ PressBjorn Borg Signed 12x8 Photo Tennis Legend Wimbledon Autograph Memorabilia + CoaSnauwaert John Newcombe Wood Vintage Tennis Racquet Near New ConditionRare Fluted 1940's Flat Top Slazenger Australia Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetWimbledon All England Lawn Tennis Club Member’s Silk British Made Tie. Ref Rll1937 Historical Slazenger Australia Coronation Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetVintage Head Vilas Wood Tennis Racquet1948 Safe-t-card Helen Jacobs Tennis #38 Bvg 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2012 Topps Timothy Wang Commemorative Olympic American Flag Patch Table TennisSteffi Graf Signed Photo Tennis ChampionVintage Dunlop Maxply Mcenroe, 4 5/8, Tennis Racket- OutstandingPair Vintage Time-worn Tennis Rackets For DisplayLot Of 10 Victorian Trade Cards - All W/ Tennis Rackets From 1890sEx-shop Stock Vintage 1962 Titch Tennis Set. Super Unused Condition. Rare2014 Us Open Subway Poster Roger Federer RareGroup Of Female Tennis Players Tintype W/ Rackets - 19th Century PhotoRare Glass Tennis Negative Plate Around 1900 Vintage Dunlop Maxply Fort Made In England Wooden Tennis Rackets PairAbercrombie & Fitch Vintage Tennis RacquetCa. 1890's Tintype Photo - Large Group Holding Wood Tennis Rackets SportsNew Prince Oversize Tennis Racket Unused 4 3/8 Vintage New Old Stock ImpactWilson Maureen Connolly Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetCatherine "cici" Cartan Bellis 8x10 Photo Print Tennis Us Open Teenager ProVintage "walter Briggs 1944 Ltd" Badminton/tennis Racket With Wooden Press2012 Topps Allen & Ginter John Mcenroe Swatch Relic #agr-jm Atp Tennis HofRoger Federer & Rafael Nadal Autographed 2013 Wimbledon Tennis Ball With Coa1980's Rare Usa Silver Fox 100% Graphite Formed Hole Vintage Tennis RacquetNovak Djokovic Signed Game Used Western Southern Tennis Ball 2014 Joker AutoWhite Card Originally Signed In Ink By Jaroslav Drobny (wimbledon Champ 1954)!Vintage Marcraft Racquet Paddles Lot Of 2Vintage Prince Woodie Graphite Wood Composite Tennis RacquetWilson Reflex 8.5 Si Graphite Tennis Racket Racquet 95 Sq. Vintage Rare W CoverUssr Tadjikistan Table Tennis Brass MedalU.s. Open Tennis Program 1978 First Year At Flushing MeadowsSlazenger Royal Crown Wood Cool Decals Vintage Tennis RacquetAndre Agassi Tennis Signed 8x10 Color Photo Auto Jsa CoaVintage Dunlop England Fleet Wing Tennis Ball Can Plus Two Tournament BallsAnna Kournikova Tennis Signed 4x6 Color Photo Auto Jsa Coa1974 Panini Bjorn Borg Sport Vedettes Psa 5Andy Murray, With Wimbledon Trophy, 2013. Superb Hand Signed 8x12" Photo. Fine Monica Seles Signed Photo Tennis ChampionRoger Federer & Bjorn Borg Dual Autographed 8" X 10" Wimbledon -item #3920580Official 2014 Us Open Tennis Grey Goose Honey Deuce Vodka Drinking GlassRoger Federer Autographed 8" X 10" Clay Shot Photograph - -item #3920574

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Nächster Favoritensturz bei ..., September 1st

Nächster Favoritensturz bei den US Open: Die Kanadierin Eugenie Bouchard unterlag im Achtelfinale der Russin Jekaterina Makarowa 6:7 (2:7), 4:6. Damit ist aus den Top 10 der Weltrangliste nur noch Serena Williams (USA/Nr. 1) im Turnier vertreten...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > US-Open: Favoritensterben geht ..., August 30th

Das Favoritensterben im Frauenfeld der US Open hat ein weiteres Opfer gefordert: Wimbledonsiegerin Petra Kvitova schied als fünfte Top-10-Spielerin in New York aus. Die 24 Jahre alte Tschechin, die an Position drei gesetzt war, unterlag in der dritten ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Roger Federer mit Losglück ..., August 21st

Roger Federer geht bei den US Open seinen Hauptkonkurrenten lange aus dem Weg. Auch die deutschen Teilnehmerinnen erwischten eine machbare Auslosung. Philipp Kohlschreiber und Benjamin Becker treffen zum Auftakt auf Qualifikanten...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Benjamin Becker und Dustin ..., August 19th

Die beiden deutschen Tennisprofis Benjamin Becker (Orscholz) und Dustin Brown (Winsen/Aller) sind als letzte Deutsche in der zweiten Runde des ATP-Turniers in Winston-Salem/North Carolina gescheitert. Der 33-jährige Becker unterlag dem an Position ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Angelique Kerber und Sabine ..., August 8th

Die Fed-Cup-Spielerinnen Angelique Kerber und Sabine Lisicki sind im Achtelfinale des WTA-Turniers in Montréal/Kanada gescheitert. Die Weltranglistensiebte Kerber (Kiel) musste sich nach 2:25 Stunden der ehemaligen Weltranglistenersten Venus ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Andy Murray plant ..., August 4th

Der britische Tennisprofi Andy Murray plant seine Zukunft an der Seite von Trainerin Amelie Mauresmo. Das erklärte der zweimalige Grand-Slam-Sieger vor dem ATP-Masters in Toronto im Gespräch mit der BBC. "Ich glaube, wir beide werden alles für eine ...Read more