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    

Antique B'ham Sterling Silver Melbourne Tennis St. Kilda Stoneham Cup TrophyRoger Federer Signed 2012 Topps Allen Ginter #157 Auto Psa/dna 83588510Vintage Mizuno/hertz Ivan Lendl Signed/autograph Tennis Shirt Nice! JapanAntique Spalding Slocum Flattop Tennis Racquet, D&m Canvas CoverNos Vinnie Vincent Richards Vintage Dunlop White Unopened Can Tennis Balls 19342007 Ace Tennis Anna Kournikova Signed Trading Card Psa/dna Slabbed #83399024Vintage Duchess No. 40 Wood Tennis Racquet - Draper & Maynard Co. Plymouth, Nh 1950's Mike Erskine (wimbledon), Vintage Photo, Originally Signed, Excellent!Mix Of Vintage Tennis Theme Cigarette Cards-cope, Churchman,Maria Sharapova 2005 Ace Authentic Tennis Piece Of Dress 125/400New, Mint Yonex Mingow Wooden Tennis Racquet, Vintage Ca.1973/74, 4 5/8, Yy-73002014 Us Open Subway Poster Roger Federer Rare1948 Topps Magic Photos Series T General Sports #7t Tennis Psa 8 Nm-mt Last CardAnna Kournikova (tennis) Authentic Hand Signed 8x10 Photograph Autograph AutoAnna Kournikova Signed Autographed Index Card Psa/dna Slabbed #83399035 TennisTad Davis Vintage Tennis Racket Lot Of 52014 Western Southern Cincy Tennis Exclusive Maria Sharapova Autograph CardRare Fluted 1940's Flat Top Slazenger Australia Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetAutographed Large Tennis Ball (serena Williams & Novak Djokovic)Hand Signed Anna Kournikova & Martina Hingis Tennis Ball W/ Coa. P853White Card Originally Signed In Ink By Jean Borotra (wimbledon Champ 1924/6)!Umbro Tennis Borussia Berlin Jersey Shirt Germany Futsal Football - Size: Xl2014 Us Open Subway Poster Rafael Nadal RareDunlop Maxply Fort Vintage Wood Tennis RacquetDonnay Allwood Tennis Racket W/ Cover! , Vintage, Made In Belgium 1937 Historical Slazenger Australia Coronation Wood Vintage Tennis RacquetWhite Card Originally Signed In Ink By Bobby Riggs (wimbledon Champ 1939)!Antique Dunlop Maxply England Tennis Racquet Wood. Great ConditionEugenie Bouchard 1/10 Limited Edition 2014 Us Open Pronet Collector Tennis Card Eugenie Bouchard 1/10 Limited Edition 2014 Us Open Pronet Collector Tennis Card Eugenie Bouchard 1/10 Limited Edition 2014 Us Open Pronet Collector Tennis Card Eugenie Bouchard 1/10 Limited Edition 2014 Us Open Pronet Collector Tennis Card Eugenie Bouchard 1/10 Limited Edition 2014 Us Open Pronet Collector Tennis Card Mk Dons V Afc Wimbledon 12.8.14 Programme, Dvd, Press Pass, Match TicketNew Volley Oc Canvas Tennis Shoes In Antique White Size Us 10 Uk 9Lcc Semi Final Wimbledon V Chelsea 62-632012 Ace Authentic Roger Federer Novak Djokovic Game Used Tennis Ball Relic CardVintage Tennis RacketBox 2013 Ace Authentic Grand Slam Tennis 10 Autos PerUnique Giant 2003 Us Open Tennis Banner Agassi Seles Sampras Hingis Williams Maria Sharapova Signed Game Used Western Southern Tennis Ball 2014 AutoAustralian Open Hat Signed By Evert, Laver, Rosewell, Navratilova, Newcombe +++ Vintage Sergio Tacchini Tennis Shirt Mats Wilander Grand Slams 1988 SmallTestimonial R Law Wimbledon V Chelsea 68-691985 Nike Sport Cards Set (6) Michael Jordan Rookie! Dwight Gooden, John McenroeFootball Enamel Badge : Wimbledon F.c. Nice Silver 1980'sRod Laver Signed Autograph 9x10.5 Tennis Great Grand Slam Pro SlamWimbledon All England Lawn Tennis Club Member’s Silk British Made Tie. Ref RllTennis Fans Look! Vintage Brass Tennis Ball PaperweightNovak Djokovic Autographed Wimbeldon Tennis Ball With CoaVintage Pro Kennex Boron Ace Mid-size Tennis Racket Racquet RareU.s. Open 1994 Tennis Framed PosterUs Open 2014 Tennis Ball Cap Lot Of 3 Vintage Wilson Tennis Rackets, Largehead Sting, T3000, Wooden "holiday"Tennis Girl 1976 By Martin Elliott 35th Anniversary Edition PosterVintage Pro Kennex Power Ace 93 Midsize Tennis Racquet 4 5/8 Aluminum Vintage Tad Davis Custom Imperial Wood Tennis Racquet Size 7h Plus Rack/ CoverAntique Vintage Wood Spalding Tennis Racket~orig. Rattan Cover&press"the Volley"Vintage Tennis Towel Hilton Head Island Van Der Meer Academy Awesome Graphics!Vintage Wooden Tennis Racquet

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > US Open: Bouchard und Kvitova ...
sportal.de, August 26th

Die Favoritinnen gaben sich bei ihren Auftaktmatches in Flushing Meadows keine Blöße und spazierten locker in die nächste Runde. Tennis-Youngster Eugenie Bouchard ist problemlos in die zweite Runde der US Open eingezogen. Die Wimbledonfinalistin ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Fed-Cup-Trio hofft im Big ...
sportal.de, August 22nd

Andrea Petkovic hat es getan, Angelique Kerber auch und Sabine Lisicki sowieso. Literweise Eiswasser gossen sich Deutschlands beste Tennisspielerinnen zuletzt über den Kopf. Ein nasskaltes Ritual, das nicht der Regeneration dient wie Mertesackers ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Roger Federer mit Losglück ...
sportal.de, 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 ...
sportal.de, 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 ...
sportal.de, 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 ...
sportal.de, 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

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Rekord-Frau Sabine Lisicki ...
sportal.de, July 31st

Nach ihrem Aufschlag-Weltrekord hat Sabine Lisicki Lob von der "entthronten" Venus Williams (USA) erhalten. "Es ist eine gute Sache, denn es war an der Zeit, dass es passiert. Sabine serviert wirklich sehr hart", sagte die ältere der Williams...Read more