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    

Maria Sharapova 2006 Sports Illustrated Si Swimsuit Autograph Signed Card Rare!!Nike Challenge Court Vintage Polo Shirt Agassi Tennis M Lime Green ItalyMartina Hingis Signed Tennis Ball Auto Psa/dna Coa Genuine Original Hagenauer Bronze Tennis Player NrGenuine Original Hagenauer Silvered Bronze Tennis Player NrRare Volkl Zebra 1970's First Fibreglass Vintage Tennis RacquetPrince Graphite Mid Plus Early 1990's Vintage Tennis RacquetRare Adidas Graphite Gto Spaghetti Stringing Vintage Tennis RacquetMaria Sharapova 2007 Ace Authentic Straight Sets Jersey Sp Psa Gem Mt 10 Wow!Martina Navratilova #/50 2011 Sportkings Series E Auto Silver Tennis AutographLot Of (10) Vintage Wood Tennis Rackets - Spaulding Macgregor Wilson Snauwaert +Rare Vintage 1980's Le Coq Sportif Concept 3 Midsize Roscoe Tanner Tennis RacketLarge Sterling Silver Men Tennis Player Statue Signed By Mark Nir1933 Goudey Sport Kings #16 William T. Tilden (tennis) Sgc 55 Vg-ex+Lili Alvarez Signed 1920s Wimbledon Trim & Co PostcardRare Vintage Antique 1899 Real Photo Joseph Callahan W/ Wood Tennis RacketNike Oregon Ducks Tennis Lacrosse Cheerleader Skirt Women's Medium Dri-fitAnna Kournikova Tennis Signed 8x10 Color Photo Auto Psa/dna CoaVintage Primo Tennis Balls Sealed Tin Can Unopened New Yellow 3ctUs Open Model By Sfida Australia Vintage Graphite Composite Tennis RacquetWilson T 2000 Steel Wire Wrapping Vintage Tennis Racquet (lacoste Design)Excellent Vintage Wood 1920 Wright & Ditson Campbell Tennis Racket Large GripWimbledon Vintage Home Shirt Elonex Xxl ManJohn Gayle - Wimbledon (august 1989) 6 X 4 Inch Press PhotoPair Of Vintage Wood Maxply Dunlop Fort Tennis Rackes With One Cover NiceCleveland Indians Vtg 90's Chief Wahoo Golf Tennis Polo T Shirt Jersey True FanNovak Djokovic Signed Tennis Photograph With CoaBeauty Clean & Crisp Vintage Wood 1915 Spalding Domino Dd Tennis RacketStunning Rare Wimbledon Rodenstock Sunglasses Tortoiseshell Model No.9310 A 140Ace Authentic Andre Agassi Signature Moments Jersey Patch Material /5002014 Usta League Tennis Cap - Nationals - Brand NewWimbledon Vinnie Jones Corinthian Prostar Football FigureVintage Slazenger Wood Victory Tennis Raquet Roger Federer Hand Signed World Tennis Icon Hardback Biography +guaranteeAce Authentic Maria Sharapova Jersey Patch Jc12Two(2) Antique Tennis Racquet Frames:: A.j. Reach American Driver & W&d The ParkMichael Chang Signed 8x10 Photo Psa/dna Coa Tennis Legend Us French Open 1Andre Agassi Brooke Shields Autographtennis Mag1994 Was Federer Like #1 In WorldStan Smith (wimbledon Champion 1972), White Card, Originally Signed!Ivan Lendl Signed Autographed Photo Vintage 1920 Wood Tru Sport Special Tennis Racket2013 Sportkings E Martina Navratilova Silver Auto - On Card /50 A-mn2Plymouth Argyle V Afc Wimbledon (lge 2, Tues, April 14, 2015) + Teamsheet Mint Tennis Racket Metal Key Ring Keyring Gift Souvenir Wimbledon NewVintage Yamaha Composite Tennis Racquet With Leather Head CoverJelena Jankovic Signed Autographed Tennis 11x14 Photo Jsa #l57133Vintage Wooden Regent Supreme Tennis Racket Laminate Construction Racquet2012 Allen & Ginters Lot Of 19 Roger Federer Arnold Palmer Konerko Nova YankeesLouis Vuitton "french Co" Vintage Tennis Racket CoverAmelie Mauresmo Dunlop Murray Coach Autographed Tennis Bag And Racquet2 Vintage Wooden Tennis Rackets Vantage Speed King 295 + Bancroft Californian VgVintage Tennis Racquet Bundle Chris Evert Signature New And Davis Tad ImperialMichael Chang Signed 8x10 Photo Psa/dna Coa Tennis Legend Us French Open 2Roger Federer Short Print Refractor Rc - Limited Serial #1/1Nfl Reebok Detroit Lions Golf Tennis Polo Shirt New Womens MediumVintage Wilson T2000 Tennis Racquet, R Flex, Approx. 4 5/8, Nice!Spalding La Vitesse Vintage Wood Tennis RacketVintage Penn X-76 Tennis Balls & Can Vintage Penn Tennis One Is Sealed Three CanAutographed Billie Jean King 8.5 X 11 Magazine Page Signed In BlueWilson Conqueror Strata Bow Wood Tennis Racket Racquet - Vintage

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Kerber nach Sieg über Petkovic ...
sportal.de, April 11th

Angelique Kerber (Kiel/Nr. 5) steht nach einem souveränen Sieg im Prestigeduell mit Andrea Petkovic (Darmstadt/Nr. 3) im Finale des WTA-Turniers in Charleston/South Carolina. Eine Woche vor ihrem gemeinsamen Fed-Cup-Auftritt gegen Russland ...Read more

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 > Fed-Cup-Halbfinale: DTB ...
sportal.de, April 1st

Deutschlands Fed-Cup-Gegner Russland wird im Halbfinale (18./19. April) voraussichtlich auf seine Nummer zwei, Ekaterina Makarova, verzichten müssen. Wie Bundestrainerin Barbara Rittner am Rande des WTA-Turniers in Miami erklärte, hat die Nummer ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Fed Cup: Williams-Schwestern ...
sportal.de, March 29th

Im Kampf um den Wiederaufstieg in die Weltgruppe kann das Fed-Cup-Team der USA weiter auf die Williams-Schwestern zählen. Das bestätigte Serena Williams (33) am Rande des Turniers in Miami. "Wir verdienen den Aufstieg. Wir haben einige der ...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

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