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 Rare Sphairistike Tilt Head Tennis Racket Jefferies Lopsided Racquet Nike Challenge Court Vintage Sweat Wrist Bands Andre Agassi 1990's Nike Challenge Court Vintage Tennis Shorts Andre Agassi 1990's SmallVintage Andre Agassi Nike Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Wilson Tennis Balls In Paper Bag - Vintage Collectible - War Time ItemLouis Vuitton "french Co" Vintage Tennis Racket CoverAnna Kournikova Tennis Signed 8x10 Color Photo Auto Psa/dna CoaL2331- Draper And Maynard Antique Wood Tennis Racket Racquet Yale Model 1900sLacoste Vintage 1980s Tennis Bag Sports 80s Squash Accessoire France White CrocoAntique Racquets Racket Early Squash Rare Birch & SonsVintage 1932 Wood Very Unusual Wood Open Throat Wilson Tennant Tennis RacketPrince Extender Rip Stick 800pl 104 Midplus Power Tennis Racquet Vintage 4 1/4Victorian Early Tennis British Raj Photograph Scary Tennis Players Portrait Vintage Spalding Slocum Wood Tennis Racquet Early 1900'sVintage Pennsylvania Tennis Balls 4 Cans With Key & Box Nos Full BoxAndre Agassi Tennis Nike Challenge Court ShirtVintage Wright & Ditson 3 Ball Tennis Box, No Balls, Can, Or Tin Andre Agassi Vintage Nike Challenge Court Tennis Shirt XlVintage Classic Prince Boron Tennis Racquet Original Leather Grip 4 5/8 Low S/nVintage - Lawn Tennis Tape Measure - Full Length - Brass Case Court MeasurementsBjorn Borg Authentic Hand Signed Autograph 12x8 Photo Wimbledon Tennis & CoaVintage Donnay Borg Pro Wood Tennis Racket Size: Light 5 Roger Federer Signed 8 X 10 Pic Autographed Greatest Of All Time OpenMonica Seles Wta 2009 Ithof Tennis Player Psa/dna #s27141 Original 8x10 Photo2014 Leaf Q *martina Hingis "autograph" (wimbledon Champ)Fj Bancroft "court " Antique Tennis RacquetAce Tennis Authentic Autograph John Mcenroe Us Open Tennis BallRoger Federer Ace Authentic Autograph Card Signed 2010 Super Rare 68/85Steffi Graf - Tennis Legend - Autographed 4x6 PhotographSale Andy Murray Tennis Wimbledon Hand Signed Photo Authentic Genuine + Coa 12x82014 Leaf Q Jimmy Connors Pure Auto Autograph Tennis Tournament Champion!Roger Federer 2014 Leaf Sports Icons Hof Cut Auto Autograph Sp #1/4 Rare !Wimbledon V Bishop Auckland Amateur Cup Semi Final At Dulwich 1946/47Antique Wooden Tennis Racket Iver Johnson ~ Newport 13 Oz.Vintage 1920 Wood Tru Sport Special Tennis RacketIvan Lendl Signed " Breast Cancer Awareness " Tennis Ball Pink Jsa Coa AutoMini Wimbledon Tennis Rackets2014 Leaf Q Sports Heroes Tennis Roger Federer Jumbo Jersey Vintage Louis Vuitton Tennis Racquet Cover Duffle Bag Monogram Leather DesignerWimbledon V Dulwich Hamlet Football Programme 1946/47Nwt Nike Hybrid Rf Roger Federer Dri Fit Stay Cool Hat Royal Blue Snapback2013 Leaf Executive Collection Tennis Hof Rod Laver Auto Bgs2013 Sportkings E Martina Navratilova Silver Auto - On Card /50 A-mn2Antique Dayton "pilot" Tennis Racquet W/ Wire Strings & Most Of Original StickerAntique Vintage 1940’s Wilson Match Point Tennis Balls Unopened Can With Key
Vintage Rare Donnay Cgx 25 Tennis Racquet With Cover 41930´s Swedish Rose Marie #93 Helen Wills Moody Usa Tennis Hof1930´s Swedish Rose Marie #88 William Bill Tilden Tennis HofBjorn Borg Hand Signed 8x10 Tennis Photo Autographed Psa Coa I82587Stefi Graf Signed Tennis Photo2006 Hometown Heroes Kournikova/sharapova National Match-worn Jersey Card /1200Head Crossbow 10 Tennis Racquet 4 3/8" Radical Vintage Os 124"Vintage Wood Clean Bright 1920 Magnan Mccallister’s Baltimore Tennis RacketUnited States Lawn Tennis Association Championship Program; 1946; Orig; VgLot Of 3 Vintage Chris Evert Wilson Wooden Tennis RacketsVintage Box Of 6 Spencer Moulton Tennis Balls "made Under Government Licence"Vintage Wood 1930s Bentley Wilson Driver Tennis Racket Rare Brand Camden NyAndre Agassi Tennis Pepsi Max Glass Clear Background White Shirt From Belgium2012 Ace Authentic Grand Slam 3 Tennis Bethanie Mattek-sands Autograph Auto RedVintage Head Graphite Edge Wood Tennis 402 Dlm Racket/racquet 4 3/8'' /l3

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Achter Titel in Miami - Serena ...
sportal.de, April 5th

Serena Williams wischte sich ein paar Konfettischnipsel von den Armen, lächelte entspannt in die Kameras und plauderte nebenbei ein bisschen mit Martina Navratilova. Die Siegerehrung auf der Palmen-Halbinsel Key Biscayne vor der Küste von Miami ist ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Miami: Qualifikantin Tatjana ...
sportal.de, 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

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Trainer Christopher Kas ärgert ...
sportal.de, March 27th

Stammtischparolen, überspitzte Darstellungen, Nebengeräusche: Trainer Christopher Kas hat sich vehement gegen die Kritik an seinem Schützling Sabine Lisicki gewehrt. Im Gespräch mit der Süddeutschen Zeitung lobte der frühere Doppelspezialist die ...Read more

Mona Barthel scheitert in Floria in Runde eins
sportal.de, March 24th

Mona Barthel ist beim WTA-Turnier von Miami/Florida in der ersten Runde ausgeschieden. Die Weltranglisten-39. aus Neumünster unterlag zum Auftakt im Crandon Park von Key Biscayne gegen Bojana Jovanovski 6:3, 3:6, 2:6. Barthel kassierte ihre zweite ...Read more

Tommy Haas hat für die Gerry Weber Open zugesagt
sportal.de, March 22nd

Tommy Haas hat seine Zusage für einen Start bei den Gerry Weber Open (15. bis 21. Juni) gegeben. Der 36-Jährige hatte das Rasenturnier in Halle/Westfalen 2009 und 2012 gewonnen. "Halle ist für mich das Wimbledon von Deutschland, und ich liebe die ...Read more

Struff und Kohlschreiber gewinnen - DTB-Team verliert 2:3 gegen Frankreich
sportal.de, March 8th

Jan-Lennard Struff hat das unbedeutende abschließende Einzel im Erstrundenspiel der deutschen Davis-Cup-Mannschaft gegen Frankreich in Frankfurt/Main gewonnen. Damit unterlag das DTB-Team beim Debüt von Kapitän Michael Kohlmann dem ...Read more

Davis Cup - Kroatien verliert: Djokovic führt Serbien ins Viertelfinale
sportal.de, March 7th

Der Weltranglistenerste Novak Djokovic hat Serbiens Davis-Cup-Team im "Bruder-Duell" gegen Kroatien im Eiltempo ins Viertelfinale geführt. Nach seinem Dreisatz-Sieg im Einzel gegen Mate Delic gewann der Schützling von Boris Becker auch das Doppel ...Read more

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

3-6, 6-1, 6-2 (2) John Kowalczyk-Matt Halverson, W, def. Dylan Berger-Jesse Bragg, ER, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 12-10 (3) Jake Strom-Jack Garvey, W, def. Nathan Chanthamontry-Steven Delain 6-2, 6-2. Filed Under: Elk River, Elk River boys tennis, top news ...Read more