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    

1938 Pre Ww2 Wimbledon Speedway Supporters Club Badge Cotton Dot Motorcycles GcVintage Antique 1914 Tennis Loving Cup Trophy. Copper Color. Dieges & Clust Hazells' Streamline "blue Star" Antique Vintage Tennis Racket C1935 Exc Cond. NrAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 16 Saint - Luce WornMaria Sharapova 2005 Ace Signature Moments Rookie Autograph Card #21/50Hazells' Streamline "blue Star" Antique Vintage C.1935 Excellent Condition - NrAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 18 Nicholson WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 4 Bulman Match Worn1947 Fa Amateur Cup Final - Leytonstone V. WimbledonVintage Wilson Pro Staff Racquet Signed By Pete Sampras Antique .925 Hm Sterling Silver Tennis Prize Trophy Cup Birmingham 1927Afc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 12 Pell WornAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Fa CupVintage Polo Sport Ralph Lauren Blue&red Cap Hat Classic Golf Tennis CoolVintage Pennsylvania Tennis Balls 4 Cans With Key & Box Nos Full BoxBjorn Borg Signed Tennis Ball Wimbledon Champion Autograph Memorabilia + CoaAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 19 Arther WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 36 Winfield Worn30s Vintage Antique Loving Cup Trophy Brass Bakelite Tennis Men's Doubles 1939Afc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 27 Tanner Worn, Ripped In Play2003 Net Pro Tennis Anna Kournikova Match Worn Apparel Card2014 Leaf Q Martina Hingis Auto 1997 Wimbledon Champion #7/25Rafael Nadal 2005 Ace Authentic Autograph Card #19/100***roger Federer Signed Autographed Tennis Ball Open + Photo**Original Players Towel From Wimbledon Tennis ChampionshipsGk) 2007 Ace Authentic Maris Sharapova Relic Shirt Tennis Sp RareVintage Arthur Ashe Head Amf Competition 2 Baron Flex Tennis Racquet Racket Antique A.c Tennis Mens Singles Solid Silver Trophy/ Cup Hallmarked 30gLondon 2012 Team Gb Tennis ShirtAnna Kournikova Sexy Tennis Signed Auto 8x10 Forbes Mag Cover Photo Psa/dna CoaMaria Sharapova 2005 Ace Court Queens Jersey #229/250Vintage Unopened Can W/key Franklin Court Pro Tennis Balls Vintage Wood 1910s H Niedecken Milwaukee Tournament Tennis Racket1923 Tennis Tournament Trophy Wilcox International Silver Co Won By E.b. KelsoWimbledon Fc 2002 2004 Red Long Sleeved Away Shirt Jersey Size Medium M RareAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 17 Kennedy Match WornAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Vintage Dunlop Maxply Fort Medium Racket! Unused! Near Mint!2012 Sportkings E Bjorn Borg Shirt Memorabilia Autograph Am-bbo1 Tennis Auto /40Antique Tennis2014 Leaf Q Autograph Jimmy Connors Hall Of Fame Pure TennisAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 36 Winfield Match WornVinny Jones - Wimbledon (17th Nov 1988) 8 X 6 Inch Match Action Press PhotoVintage Official Tennis Straw Boater L Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & SonsVintage Dunlop Maxply Fort Tennis Racket-medium 4 1/2" W/ Press- Very Good CondSigned Mary Heeley 1911-1982 British Champion Wimbledon Us Open 1930s 1940s RareVintage Rare Nordstrom Leather Tennis Bag/purse Made In ItalyVintage Wimbledon Speedway Chromed Car Bumper BadgeRare Original 1901 Wright And Ditson's Lawn Tennis GuideVintage Olympic Tennis Ball CanAnna Kournikova Signed Autographed 8x10 Photo Rare Sexy Hot Tennis Psa DnaClean Bright Crisp Vintage Wood 1920s Spalding Kro-bat Tennis RacketVintage Wilson Jack Kramer Pro Staff Wooden Tennis Racket Racquet Very Good Cond Stock Car Poster For Wimbledon Track F1 And F2 , Rare Poster.New Old Stock Vintage Never Strung Spalding World Open 1960 1970 Tennis Racket2014 Us Open Tennis Championships Baseball Hat/capVintage Official Tennis Straw Boater Xl Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & Sons *new*Andy Murray Hand Signed 12x8 Photo. Wimbledon. Nadal Roger FedererPringle Scotland Polo Shirt Top Great Vintage Rare Logo Cotton New Nwt1946 Program Professional Tennis Championship

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Julia Görges als fünfte ...
sportal.de, May 26th

Fed-Cup-Spielerin Julia Görges ist als fünfte Deutsche in die zweiten Runde der French Open in Paris eingezogen. Die Weltranglisten-72. aus Bad Oldesloe setzte sich in ihrem Auftaktmatch gegen Coco Vandeweghe aus den USA mit 6:2, 5:7, 6:1 durch...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Wegen Rückenverletzung ...
sportal.de, May 22nd

Tränen statt Finale - und Sorge um Paris: Favoritin Angelique Kerber hat wegen Rückenproblemen auf ihre Halbfinal-Teilnahme beim WTA-Turnier in Nürnberg verzichtet und reist wie ihre Fed-Cup-Kollegin Andrea Petkovic (Oberschenkelzerrung) ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Michael Berrer qualifiziert ...
sportal.de, May 22nd

Routinier Michael Berrer steht in seiner letzten Profisaison zum fünften Mal im Hauptfeld der French Open. Der 34-Jährige aus Stuttgart, der spätestens Anfang nächsten Jahres seine Karriere beenden wird, gewann im Finale der Qualifikation in Paris...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Kurz vor French Open ...
sportal.de, May 20th

Die Weltranglistenfünfte Caroline Wozniacki hat trotz einiger vergeblicher Anläufe die Hoffnung auf den Gewinn eines Grand-Slam-Titels noch nicht aufgegeben. "Ich arbeite jeden Tag extrem hart daran, um dieses Ziel zu erreichen. Ich weiß bei jedem ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Barbara Rittner glaubt an ...
sportal.de, May 19th

Bundestrainerin Barbara Rittner glaubt trotz einer Oberschenkelverletzung an den Start von Andrea Petkovic bei den am Sonntag beginnenden French Open in Paris. "Ich rechne damit, dass Andrea spielen kann. Aber man muss abwarten", sagte Rittner am ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Andrea Petkovic neue Nummer ...
sportal.de, May 11th

Andrea Petkovic hat sich trotz ihrer anhaltenden Magen-Darm-Erkrankung in der Tennis-Weltrangliste um eine Position auf Rang neun verbessert. Sandplatzkönig Rafael Nadal hingegen ist erstmals seit dem 2. Mai 2005 nur noch die Nummer sieben der ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Der heutige Spieltag beim ATP ...
sportal.de, May 1st

Am Tag der Arbeit waren Andy Murray, Philipp Kohlschreiber und die anderen sechs Viertelfinalisten beim ATP-Turnier in München zum Nichtstun verurteilt. Wegen anhaltenden Regens beschloss die Turnierleitung um Turnierdirektor Patrik Kühnen um ...Read more

Distressed Nepalese paddlers lose at Worlds
Vancouver Desi, April 27th

Suzhou (China), April 27 (IANS) — Nepalese athletes, who are currently competing at the World Table Tennis Championships, awoke to the worst possible news as information filtered out of their homeland about a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck near ...Read more