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    

2006 Ace Grand Slam Center Court Stars Roger Federer Bgs 9.5 W/ 10 AutoA Vintage Real Tennis Racket By Grays Cambridge. Used At Hampton Court. Superb Antique Lawn Tennis 78 Feet Long Tape Measure Circa 1900Autographed Roger Federer Nike Sports Bag New Rare2006 Ace Grand Slam Center Court Stars Rafael "rafa" Nadal Bgs 9.5 W/ 10 AutoTwo Pairs Of Antique Ping Pong / Table Tennis Bats - 19th Century Tommy Jansson Hand Signed B/w Photograph. Wimbledon Smederna SwedenVintage Slazenger Box Containing 5 Tennis Balls -selected For Wimbledon 1950Antique Tennis Racket By Horace Partridge &co Boston American Tate!!!!Vintage Slazenger Demon Tennis Balls Mib UnopenedAndre Agassi Hof Tennis Signed 8x10 Color Photo Auto Psa/dna CoaSan Francisco 49ers Shoes Women Sz 7 Tennis Shoe ExcellentBjorn Borg 2011 Sportkings Silver AutoVintage ~ C1936 ~ "hazells" "green Star Stremline" Tennis RacketVintage Slazenger Champion Lawn Tennis Balls Wimbledon 1947 Unused1940 Era Rare Wooden Wilson Bobby Riggs Vintage Tennis Racquet ! Awesome Shape !Gg) 2003 Net Pro Tennis Serena Williams Dual Relic Jersey Sp 275/500 2bRare Antique Miniature Tennis Racquet Trade Sample Treen Wood 7 1/2" LongVintage Part Box Of Wimbledon Tennis BallsRonnie Moore Hand Signed B/w Photograph. Wimbledon New Zealand2014 Official Australian Open Tennis Mens Player Issue Towel Full Size Cotton BnRafa Nadal Signed Photo Authentic Autograph French Open TennisRoger Federer Autographed Us Open Tennis Ball With CoaWes Burns Bristol City Poppy Shirt V Gillingham & Afc Wimbledon2008 Ace Authentic Grand Slam Legend Martina Navratilova Gold Bgs 9.5 W/ 10 AutoJohn Mcenroe Autographed Tennis Cap U S Open 2000 Licensed Rare Signed Real HatRoger Federer Vintage Shirt 20082014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Players Record Media Guide: Men’s Tennis Football Rosettes Orient Wimbledon Workington Carlisle Port Vale Scunthorpe2006 Ace Authentic Tennis Heroes & Legends Andre Agassi Jersey 024/100Tobacco Card Set, Godfrey Phillips, Lawn Tennis, How To Play, 19302014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Media Handbook: Mens Tennis 2014 Official Australian Open Tennis Womens Player Issue Towel Full Size Cotton2014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Media Notepad: Mens Tennis Vintage Antique Tennis Trophy Ashtray So. Beach Trophies Hermosa Beach2013 Ace Authentics National Pride Rafael Nadal Yellow 4/5King's Lynn Football Club Programmes X 15 - 1967/68 Wimbledon EtcVintage Wood 1930 Boston Brine Lenox Squash Racket Racquet Original StringsVintage Natural Genuine Gut Tennis StringsAtp World Tour Tennis Doubles Rules Shirt Xl Bryan BrothersVintage Rossignol R40 Rare Tennis Racquet ~ Good ConditionCollection Of 6 Vintage Tad Davis Wood Tennis RacketsNear Mint! Tad Davis Hi Point Vintage Tennis Racquet Maria Sharapova "aces" Jersey Card!! Ace Authentic 2007 Single - InsertOfficial Wimbledon 2014 By Bablot Laptop Bag New2014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Official Programme: Men’s Tennis The Complete History Of Wimbledon Speedway - Perkin Booklet2014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Media Notepad: Mens Tennis Rare Wimbledon Football Shirt Medium Mint Last Season Maglia Trikot Maillot2013 Leaf Ace Alize Cornet #33/35 Base Card Auto TennisRoger Federer Autographed Nike Wimbledon Tennis Cap & CoaNovak Djokovic Signed Autographed Tennis Ball With Coa Ace Authentic In CaseVintage Wood Harry C Lee Signed Dated 1926 Slot Commonwealth Tennis Racket2014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Tournament History Media Guide: Mens Tennis 2014 Us Open Subway Poster Roger Federer RareSkid Marks....four Original 6 By 4 Or Thereby 1950s Wimbledon Speedway Photos Grantham Town V Wimbledon Fa Cup 26th November 1966Vintage White, Permanent Pleated, Wraparound Tennis Skirt 26"-30" Waist Wimbledon Speedway 1975 Gilt Badge2014 Barclays Atp World Tour Finals Daily News Programme: Day 1: Men’s Tennis

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > ATP-Finale in London: David ..., November 13th

Tennisprofi Milos Raonic konnte bei den ATP World Tour Finals in London am Donnerstag wegen einer Oberschenkel-Verletzung nicht zu seinem abschließenden Gruppenspiel gegen US-Open-Finalist Kei Nishikori (Japan/Nr. 5) antreten. Für den 23 Jahre ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Deutschland - Tschechien: 0:3 ..., November 9th

"Das Allerallerwichtigste für mich persönlich und für uns als Team ist, wir haben uns heute so präsentiert, wie wir das ganze Jahr gespielt haben", sagte Teamchefin Barbara Rittner am Sat.1-Mikrofon: "Wir werden dieses Scheißding irgendwann gewinnen, ...Read more

Causa 'Williams-Brüder' - IOC will Tarpischew befragen, October 20th

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Causa 'Williams-Brüder' - IOC will Tarpischew befragen. Sport Live-Ticker. Schach: WM. Anand - Carlsen. Fußball: Regionalliga Südwest. Konferenz. Heute finden keine weiteren Live-Ticker-Events statt...Read more