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    

Vintage Tennis Poster 1920 Rare Important Antique Affiche British Fine Antique1938 Pre Ww2 Wimbledon Speedway Supporters Club Badge Cotton Dot Motorcycles GcVintage Antique 1914 Tennis Loving Cup Trophy. Copper Color. Dieges & Clust Afc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 16 Saint - Luce WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 3 Smith WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 18 Nicholson WornAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 7 Francomb Worn1947 Fa Amateur Cup Final - Leytonstone V. WimbledonVintage Pennsylvania Tennis Balls 4 Cans With Key & Box Nos Full BoxVintage Wilson Pro Staff Racquet Signed By Pete Sampras Afc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 12 Pell WornRoger Federer Wimbledon Tennis Signed Photo Authentic AutographAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Fa CupVintage Wood 1920s Harry C Lee Ny Vincent Richards Good Shot Tennis RacketScarce 1908 Spalding's Offiical Catalogue Spring Summer Sports Baseball TennisVintage Donnay Borg Pro Tennis Racket Belgium Signature And Cover30s Vintage Antique Loving Cup Trophy Brass Bakelite Tennis Men's Doubles 1939Vintage Wood 1930s Lee Sheng Tientsin China Chinese Tennis RacketAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 27 Tanner Worn, Ripped In PlayAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 36 Winfield Worn2011 Sportkings E Bjorn Borg Silver Auto & Memorabilia On Card /40 Am-bbo2Gk) 2007 Ace Authentic Maris Sharapova Relic Shirt Tennis Sp RareVintage Unopened Can W/key Franklin Court Pro Tennis Balls 2012 Sportkings E Bjorn Borg Shirt Memorabilia Autograph Am-bbo1 Tennis Auto /40Original Players Towel From Wimbledon Tennis ChampionshipsBjorn Borg Autographed 8x10 Photo Ana Ivanovic 2008 Ace Authentic Matchpoint Autograph Card. Woman's TennisAfc Wimbledon 2014-2015 Players 19 Arther WornBjorn Borg & John Mcenroe Signed Photo Authentic Autograph Wimbledon TennisVintage Polo Sport Rl Green Cap Hat Classic Big Logo Golf Tennis Fisherman Rare1923 Tennis Tournament Trophy Wilcox International Silver Co Won By E.b. KelsoAntique Lenox Tennis Racquet W/a.j. Spalding Bros. Racquet Press HolderWimbledon Fc 2002 2004 Red Long Sleeved Away Shirt Jersey Size Medium M RareVinny Jones - Wimbledon (17th Nov 1988) 8 X 6 Inch Match Action Press PhotoBjorn Borg Signed Tennis Ball Wimbledon Champion Autograph Memorabilia + Coa1936 - Superb Full Set Of 50 Cards "tennis" In The 1936 Album - Cards ExcellentLot Of 10 Vintage Aluminum Tennis RacquetsVintage Arthur Ashe Head Amf Competition 2 Baron Flex Tennis Racquet Racket Dulwich Hamlet V Wimbledon Surrey Senior Cup 1948/49Antique TennisAnna Kournikova Sexy Tennis Signed Auto 8x10 Forbes Mag Cover Photo Psa/dna CoaVintage Official Tennis Straw Boater Xl Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & Sons *new*Handwritten Letter, Signed By 1930's Wimbledon Rider, Claude Rye, Excellent!Vintage Official Tennis Straw Boater L Stella Artois Kr Snoxell & Sons1946 Program Professional Tennis ChampionshipWilson Ultra 2 Boron Graphite Midsize 4-1/4 Vintage Pws White Butt Heavy Wear !!Vintage Wimbledon Speedway Chromed Car Bumper BadgeRare Original 1901 Wright And Ditson's Lawn Tennis GuideAfc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 Match Ball Used Old Tennis Tobacco Cigarette Flannel C 1914 Trinity College Player & Racket2014 Leaf Q Autograph Jimmy Connors Hall Of Fame Pure Tennis2012 Sportkings E Martina Navratilova Shirt Memorabilia Autograph Am-mn1 Auto/50Donnay Graphite/wood Vintage Tennis Racquet Medium 5Used Vintage Brown Wilson Wood Tennis Racquet Cover / Wood Racket Cover Afc Wimbledon 2012 - 2014 1 Ross Warner Used, Goal Keeper Cut SocksGrigor Dimitrov Autographed 2014 Queens Aegon Championships Tennis Ball & Coa Stock Car Poster For Wimbledon Track F1 And F2 , Rare Poster.Vinny Jones - Wimbledon (undated) 10 X 8 Inch Action Press PhotoBurnley V Wimbledon F.a.cup 3rd Rd 4/1/1975 Ticket***maria Sharapova Signed Autographed Tennis Ball Champion + Photo***

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 > Nürnberg: Roberta Vinci im ...
sportal.de, May 22nd

Roberta Vinci und Karin Knapp bestreiten das italienische Finale beim WTA-Turnier in Nürnberg. Die an Position sechs gesetzte Südtirolerin Knapp setzte sich im Halbfinale klar mit 6:0, 6:2 gegen Lara Arruabarrena durch. Die Spanierin hatte zuvor im ...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 > 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 > Carina Witthöft gewinnt ITF ...
sportal.de, May 10th

Carina Witthöft (20) hat das ITF-Turnier im französischen Cagnes-sur-Mer gewonnen und steht ab Montag erstmals in ihrer Karriere unter den besten 60 Spielerinnen der Welt. Die Hamburgerin setzte sich im Finale des mit 100.000 Dollar dotierten Turniers ...Read more

Haas steht im Regen: Der Mann der Zukunft heißt 'Sascha' Zverev
sportal.de, April 29th

Es läuft auch in diesen Tagen nicht gut für Tommy Haas. Seine Teilnahme am ATP-Turnier in München hatte er am Samstag absagen müssen: die Schulter, was sonst. Und am "Tommy Haas Day", den sie ihm zu Ehren am Dienstag auf der Anlage des MTTC ...Read more