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    

Wimbledon 2015 Mens Towel - Brand New With TagsLadies Wimbledon Towel 2015 - New In Presentation Bag - Worldwide Shipping Vintage Rare #3 Tiny Prince God's Or God Tennis Racquet Vintage 1930's Pre War Wilson Championship Tennis Ball Tin, 12 Ball Empty CanChris Perry Wimbledon Match-worn Away L/s Football Shirt 1998-99 Season Size Xxl2014 Leaf Sports Icons Roger Federer / Roy Emerson Tennis Autograph 1/1 BgsOriginal Early 1900's Antique Wooden Tennis Racquet With "b" And Anchor Logo2014 Roger Federer Leaf Executive Collection Masterpiece Autograph 1/1 BgsOriginal 1920's-1930's A.j. Reach Co. Vulcan Metal And Wooden Tennis RacquetOriginal Early 1900's Dayton Steel Racquet Co. Wooden & Metal Tennis Racquet3 Vintage Jc Higgins Sears Roebuck & Co Tennis Balls Sealed In Can W/ OpenerOriginal Early 1900's A.g. Spalding Hackett And Alexander Tennis RacquetOriginal Early 1900's Victor Sporting Goods Co. Vantage Wooden Tennis RacquetVintage Zebest Tennis Racket StringerBillie Jean King - Tennis Legend - Authentic Autographed 1977 Sportscaster CardOriginal Players Towel From Wimbledon Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer Signed Autographed Tennis Ball Australian Open + CoaOriginal Early 1900's Horace Partridge Co. American Tate Prize Tennis RacquetRare Vintage Avenger Chris Cte 50 4 3/8 L L3 Tennis Racquet Novak Djokovic Signed Autographed Australian Open Tennis Ball Champion + CoaRoger Federer Autographed 4*6 Nike Tennis Card - 2015 Atp 1000 Bnp Paribas Open Dunlop Volley Australan Made Aluminium Vintage Tennis Racquet Oversized Slazenger Tennis Ball Signed By Wimbledon Legends Coa Roger Federer Signed Us Open Tennis Ball With CoaDavis Cup 2015 Tennis Programme Great Britain Usa Andy Murray Wimbledon GlasgowRafael Nadal Signed Autographed Fifa Australian Open Tennis Ball Champion + CoaNovak Djokovic Signed Us Open Tennis Ball With CoaMaria Sharapova Signed Autographed Australian Open Tennis Ball Champion + CoaMade For Alcock & Pierce Melbourne Wood Grip Vintage Tennis Racquet 2013 Pete Sampras Ivan Lendl Leaf Executive Collection Masterpiece Autograph 1/1Original Early 1900's A.g. Spalding Greenwood Antique Tennis RacquetOriginal Pat. Dated 1905 Wright & Ditson Antique Wooden Tennis RacquetMerstham V Afc Wimbledon X1, 2015/16 Pre Season FriendlyOriginal Wimbledon Dons & Rye House Rockets Speedway Photograph - 1988Wimbledon 2011 Mens Championship Towel Vintage Snoopy Tennis Watch Wimbledon Lovely Working Order. Adult/child 1958Davis Cup Qf 2015 Tennis Programme Great Britain France Andy Murray WimbledonLot Of Six (6) Vintage Wooden Tennis Raquest 1936-1976 Wall Decor CollectablesWilson Jack Kramer Autograph Usa Wood Vintage Tennis Racquet 2005 Ace Authentic Maria Sharapova Rookie "signature Moments" Jersey! #369/500 Wimbledon Tennis 2002 Luxury Cushion.Wimbledon The Championship Tennis Mens Hat Cap One Size Adjustable 100% Cotton Nadia Comaneci Romania Collection Of Clippings, Tennis Nastase Tiriac AlsoPolo Sport Ralph Lauren White Cap Hat Classic Blue Pony Golf Tennis CoolPolo Jeans Company Rl Cream Cap Hat Classic Vintage Fishing Golf Tennis RareTennis Champions Fred Perry & Les Stoefen Autograph Signed In-person Album Page Rod Laver - Classic Tennis Player - Autographed Sportscaster Card & 3x5 CardGiant Tennis Ball Signed By 15 Inc Murray & Djokovic With Proof 1950s 1957 University Of Oregon Spring Sports Media Guide Baseball Golf Tennis1940's Kodak 8mm Color Film * Football Hockey Tennis * Dartmouth * Va * Lot DLot Of 20 Australia 5 Dollars Sydney 2000 Olympic Coin Tennis Football $100 FaceLawrie Sanchez - Wimbledon (sept 1987) 6 X 4 Inch Action Press PhotoJohn Mcenroe Signed Tennis Ticket With CoaHorsham V Wimbledon 1992 Friendly2014 Hl Series China Open Buyback Auto Card Maria Sharapova 10/10 RareWilson, T2000 Vintage Metal Tennis Racquet W/ Cover- Excellent Condition!*adidas Ilie Nastase* Vintage Wooden Tennis Racket 70s Strung Perfect Vintage Jack Kramer 'pro Staff' Wood Tennis Racquet - Exc W/coverVintage Polo Sport Red Corduroy Cap Hat Black Pony Outdoor Golf Tennis Rare Polo Sport Ralph Lauren Green Cap Hat Classic Red Pony Outdoor Golf Tennis Cool

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Andrea Petkovic glaubt an ..., July 23rd

Andrea Petkovic (27) rechnet mit der Vollendung des Kalender-Grand-Slams von Superstar Serena Williams (33) bei den anstehenden US Open in New York im September. "Ich glaube schon, dass Serena das schafft. Das wäre der Wahnsinn, sie hätte das ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > ATP-Weltrangliste: Erstmals ..., July 20th

Erstmals seit mehr als 30 Jahren ist kein deutscher Tennisspieler unter den besten 40 der ATP-Weltrangliste zu finden. Im am Montag erschienenen Ranking verlor Philipp Kohlschreiber acht Plätze und liegt als bester Deutscher nur noch auf Rang 42...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > WTA in Bastad: Anna-Lena ..., July 14th

Anna-Lena Friedsam (Neuwied) steht im Achtelfinale des WTA-Turniers im schwedischen Bastad. Carina Witthöft (Hamburg), Laura Siegemund (Metzingen) und Tatjana Maria (Bad Saulgau) sind dagegen in der ersten Runde ausgeschieden...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Zukunft hat begonnen ..., June 30th

Alexander Zverev kämpfte in Wimbledon bis zur völligen Erschöpfung um seinen ersten Sieg bei einem Grand Slam. Sein Erfolg zeigt: Der Hamburger Teenager ist zu Höherem berufen. Die Qualen standen Alexander Zverev ins Gesicht geschrieben...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Florian Mayer gewinnt in Halle ..., June 15th

Publikumsliebling Dustin Brown und der lange verletzte Routinier Florian Mayer haben ihre Auftakthürden beim Rasenturnier im ostwestfälischen Halle erfolgreich gemeistert. Brown setzte sich gegen den Österreicher Andreas Haider-Maurer 7:5, 6:2 durch, ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > French Open: Mike und Bob ..., June 4th

Die Zwillingsbrüder Mike und Bob Bryan (37) aus den USA greifen bei den French Open in Paris nach ihrem 17. Grand-Slam-Titel. Das erfolgreichste Doppel der Tennis-Geschichte gewann im Halbfinale gegen die Italiener Simone Bolelli und Fabio Fognini ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Miami: Qualifikantin Tatjana ..., March 28th

Traum-Tag für die deutschen Tennisspielerinnen beim WTA-Turnier von Miami/Florida: Nachdem Qualifikantin Tatjana Maria überraschend Jungstar Eugenie Bouchard bezwungen hatte, schaffte Angelique Kerber den ersten Schritt aus ihrer sportlichen Krise ...Read more

Tennis: Elks are unbeaten state champs after final conquest, 5-2 over Wayzata
Star News, June 7th

The unbeaten state champions beamed after receiving medals and the trophy. (Photo by Bruce Strand). by Bruce Strand, Sports editor. In its season of destiny the Elk River tennis team kept its cool all year during competition, but was not able to check...Read more