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    

Rafael Nadal Signed 11x14 Tennis Photo Auto Psa/dna CoaVintage Nike Andre Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shorts, Purple W/ Neon Green Rare Vintage Wwii Us Army Issue Sealed Can Spaulding Tennis Balls!Leaf 2013 Ace Authentic Grand Slam Np-rn1 Rafael Nadal Auto2007 Ace Authentic Straight Sets Tennis #24 Maria Sharapova Jersey Psa 10 Nice Great Britain Tokio Tokyo 1964 Olympics Enamel Table Tennis ? Pinches BadgeAntique Tennis Racket Wright Ditson Longwood Vintage 1905 New Model Boston MassAce Authentic 2011 Match Point 2 Jsy Lot 3 Maria Sharapova Sm1-sm3 Tony Trabert 2014 Leaf Sports Icons Autograph Auto #d 1/3 Tennis Hall Of FameRoger Federer Nike Dri Fit Tennis Polo Shirt Golf Nadal Medium Red Sale!!!Lot 9 Vintage Racquet Woman Champs Old Wood King Connolly Hart Evert Casals NrBox 2013 Ace Authentic Grand Slam Tennis 10 Autos PerTwo Donnay Graphite Master 25 Brand New! Very Rare Vintage Tennis RacquetsVintage Babolat Vs All Season Natural Gut Tennis StringsJohn Mcenroe Signed Autographed 8x10 Photo Tennis Action Psa Dna Autographed Album Page Six Tennis Stars Ellsworth Vines Don Budge Dan Maskell Subbuteo L/w Team Wimbledon Ref 650Roger Federer & Andre Agassi Dual Autographed 8'' X 10'' Trophys -item #3920584Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal Dual Autographed French Tennis Ball -item #3991621Roger Federer Autographed 8'' X 10'' Back Swing Black Shirt -item #3920575Jsa Signed Tennis Legends Billie Jean King-chris Evert Historic Sports Rivalry Rare Vintage Abercrombie & Fitch Tennis Trainer 'kum-bak' Made In England NrAutographed Signature Arthur Ashe Wct Envelope Tennis Station Dallas Tx 1985Vintage Head Twin Tube Satellite Tennis Racquet Agassi Radical Zebra TourAntique Tennis Trophy Sippican Hotel Marion Ma 1924 PairpointVintage Tad Davis Imperial Deluxe Wooden Tennis Racquet 3l Excellent ConditionFramed Roger Federer Autographed Picture - 8x10 - Mounted -item #4234298Roger Federer Signed 2012 London Olympic Games Cap With CoaDonnay Cgx 25 Brand New! Very Rare Vintage Tennis RacquetVintage F.h. Ayres Of London "challenge" Tennis Racket With Wooden Dunlop Press2011 Ace Match Point Tennis Used Memorabilia Jersey Sp Set 3 Maria SharapovaOfficial Edition The Laws Of Lawn Tennis 1910Vintage Wilson Tennis Racquet Jack Kramer Autograph Wooden Racket Wood 4 1/2"Giant Tennis Ball Signed By Andre AgassiFramed Signed Rafael Nadal & Roger Federer 8x10 Photo - Mounted -item #4234308Head Vilas Amf Vintage Tennis Racket 4 1/2Martina Navratilova Autographed 8x10 Photograph Tennis Wimbledon Open Champ CoaRoger Federer Autographed 8'' X 10'' Light Blue Split On Clay -item #3920576Vinny Jones (wimbledon) 8.5 X 6.5 Inch Press PhotoWimbledon Manager - Bobby Gould 10 X 8 Inch Press PhotoGreen Bay Packers Sz 10 Nfl Licensed Tennis Shoes Andy Murray & Novak Djokovic Tennis Legends Hand Signed Bottles + GuaranteeDallas Cowboy Womens Tennis Shoes (size 8.5)Vintage Babolat Maillot Witt Cordes Pour Raquettes Natural Gut Tennis StringsVintage Wilson T2000 And T3000 Tennis RacquetsLa Strings World Team Tennis Team Pennant Circa Mid 1970s OriginalSan Diego Friars World Team Tennis Team Pennant Circa Late 1970s OriginalAnna Kournikova (tennis) Authentic Hand Signed 8x10 Photograph Autograph AutoDave Beasant Wimbledon Fc Hand Signed Photograph Authentic Genuine + Coa - 12x8Corinthian Prostars Headliners 95 Robbie Earle Wimbledon Figure (great P+p Deal)Wilson Chris Evert And Lady Advantage Vintage Tennis Racquets1995 Atp Tour Inc. Tennis Player Card Set 68 CardsRoger Federer & Bjorn Borg Dual Autographed 8'' X 10'' Wimbledon -item #3920580Pete Sampras & Roger Federer Dual Autographed Wimbledon Logo -item #3991640Andre Agassi & Pete Sampras Autographed Wimbledon Tennis Cap With CoaRoger Federer Signed 2012 Summer Olympics London Games Cap With CoaVintage Tennis Wimbeldon Plaque, "wimbeldon Tennis Club" Wood & EmbossedRafael Nadal 2013 Wimbledon ShirtAce Authentic 2012 Rafael Nadal & Maria Sharapova Dual Jersey Swatch TennisVintage Prince Tennis Racket

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Fabio Fognini bittet Filip ..., July 17th

Fabio Fognini hat nach seinem üblem Ausraster bei seinem Zweitrunden-Aus beim ATP-Turnier in Hamburg gegen den Serben Filip Krajinovic öffentlich um Entschuldigung gebeten. Titelverteidiger Fognini hatte bei seiner 4:6, 0:6-Pleite seinen Gegner als ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Annika Beck und Dinah ..., July 15th

Annika Beck (Bonn/Nr. 6) und Dinah Pfizenmaier (Bochum) haben beim WTA-Turnier im schwedischen Bastad das Achtelfinale erreicht. Beck (20) setzte sich gegen Katarzyna Piter (Polen) 6:3, 4:6, 6:3 durch. Die 22-jährige Pfizenmaier gewann ihr ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Erstrundenaus für Mona Barthel ..., July 7th

Mona Barthel und Julia Görges sind beim WTA-Turnier Nürnberger Gastein Ladies in der ersten Runde gescheitert. Die 23-Jährige Barthel (Bad Segeberg) unterlag der an Nummer acht gesetzten Tschechin Karolina Pliskova mit 4:6, 4:6. Görges (25/Bad ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Djokovic beißt sich durch: Im ..., July 4th

Boris Becker bangte. Drei Stunden lang. Nach einer Achterbahnfahrt durch alle Höhen und Tiefen seiner Tenniskunst erlöste Novak Djokovic sich und seinen Trainer und zog ins Finale von Wimbledon ein. Dort trifft der topgesetzte Serbe am Sonntag auf den ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Boris Becker wenig überrascht ..., June 29th

Den dreimaligen Wimbledonsieger Boris Becker hat das schwache Abschneiden der deutschen Tennis-Männer im All England Club nicht überrascht. Das Fehlen der Top-Spieler Tommy Haas und Florian Mayer habe die Chancen bereits deutlich reduziert, ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Wimbledon: Melbourne-Siegerin ..., June 27th

Australian-Open-Siegerin Li Na ist beim Grand Slam in Wimbledon überraschend in der dritten Runde ausgeschieden. Die Weltranglistenzweite aus China unterlag der Tschechin Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6:7 (5:7), 6:7 (5:7) und scheiterte damit erneut ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Sabine Lisicki, Andrea ..., June 26th

Nach ihrem Drittrundeneinzug in Wimbledon atmete Sabine Lisicki erleichtert auf. "Es war wichtig, dass ich heute in zwei Sätzen gewonnen habe", sagte die Vorjahresfinalistin. Dabei ging es ihr weniger um die eingesparte Kraft. Das 6:3, 7:5 gegen die ...Read more

French-Open-Siegerin Scharapowa gibt sich zum Wimbledon-Auftakt keine Blöße, June 24th

French-Open-Siegerin Maria Scharapowa hat sich bei ihrem Saisondebüt auf Rasen keine Blöße gegeben. Die Mitfavoritin aus Russland ließ der Britin Samantha Murray - nicht verwandt und nicht verschwägert mit Wimbledonsieger Andy Murray - beim 6:1, ...Read more