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    

Nike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Short Shoes Trainer 1992 Vintage OriginNike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Short Shoes Trainer 1992 Vintage OriginNike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Short Shoes Trainer 1992 Vintage OriginNike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Short Shoes Trainer 1994 Vintage OriginAntique Flat Top Wooden Tennis Racquet Spalding Wreath Logo Checkered HandleNike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Short Trainer 1993 Vintage OriginAntique Vintage 1928 Quassaick Hall Tennis Loving Cup Silverplate Trophy Signed Fred Perry Fdc 1909-1995 Wimbledon Us French Australian Champion 1930sNike Agassi Challenge Court Tennis Shirt Shoes 1995 Vintage OriginalVintage Oliver Wood Tennis Racket White Clipper 1930s/40s Collection Worthy RareRonnie Moore (wimbledon Dons), B/w Photo, Originally Signed!Vintage Lithographed Tin Rex B12 3 Tennis Balls Can No ReserveTennis Star Model Anna Kournikova Signed Autograph Card & Residence Envelope2014 Leaf Q Match Worn Shirt Jumbo Roger Federer2011 Netrpro Andre Agassi 20th Anniversary Auto 2/10 AutographDaily News Cricket & Tennis Annual 19212011 Sportkings Golf #a-bb02 Bjorn Borg Auto Vintage Wright & Ditson Eagle Tennis RacquetSportkings Quad Annika Sorenstam, Paula Creamer, Bjorn Borg, Martina NavratilovaMaria Sharapova Signature Series Trading CardRoger Federer & Andy Murray Autographed Wimbledon Tennis Cap With CoaVintage Fila Wood Tennis Racquet W/ Cover Light/medium 12.76-13oz Grip 4 1/2 New2008 Topps Allen Ginter Serena Williams Mini Red Bazooka Back TennisRafael Nadal Signed Wilson Tennis BallSportkings Quad Gordie Howe, Superstar Billy Graham, Rod Carew, NavratilovaWimbledon Afc Enamel Badge Rare Dunlop Tennis 75 Years 1929-2004 Fully Embroidered Round Patch-new In BagWimbledon V Leeds United 1974/5 F.a.cup 4th Round ~ Replay - February 10thVintage Don Budge Wilson Finastist Wooden Tennis RacquetVintage Jack Kramer Wilson Pro Staff Wood Tennis Racket W/ Cover 4 5/8Rawlings Vintage John Newcombe Signature T-588 Wooden Tennis Racquet 6 Ply NiceWorcester City V Wimbledon 29.9. 1970 - Southern League PremierSale - Alan Cork Wimbledon Fc Hand Signed Photo Authentic Genuine + Coa - 12x8Roger Federer 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter's Tennis Framed Mini Relic SwatchGiant Vintage Wilson Pro Staff Graphite Kevlar Store Display Tennis Racket.Vintage Narragansett Thrity Standard Machine Co 1930s Tennis Racquet Beautiful!1953 Davis Cup Challenge Round Program Kooyong Vic. Vintage Tennis Racquet AdsWilson Stan Smith Autograph Vintage Tennis Racquet WoodVintage Prince Woodie Graphite Tennis Racquet 4 1/21959 Barratt Giants In Sport #35 Ashley Cooper Psa 3 Vg! Tennis Hof Rookie!Antique Vintage 1950’s Macgregor Tournament Tennis Balls In Original Can 1950 - Dulwich Hamlet V Wimbledon Programme - Isthmian League1954 - Dulwich Hamlet V Wimbledon Programme - Isthmian League1949 - Dulwich Hamlet V Wimbledon Programme - Surrey Senior Cup Usta (united States Tennis Association) Official Shirt XxlRod Laver Tennis Personally Hand Signed 12x8 Autograph Photo WimbledonWimbledon V Fulham (testimonial) 1969/70.Womens Izod South Carolina Gamecocks Basketball Polo Shirt Tennis Golf JerseyWimbledon Oyvind Leonhardsen Corinthian Prostars Football FigureJohn Mcenroe 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter's Tennis Framed Mini Relic SwatchFederer Nadal Borg Sampras Mcenroe Connors Becker Agassi 14 Signed Tennis BallsDavid Martin 2013 Ace Authentic Grand Slam Tennis Autograph Card #np-dm1Elena Dementieva 2005 Ace Authentic Tennis Relic Worn Jersey Patch Sp #/500 $15Mike Bryan 2013 Ace Grand Slam Auto /25 !!! Rare !!! TennisPrince Tour Team 12 Pack Bag Tennis Pro Triple Threat VintageVintage Rare Slazenger Racquetballs Can Of Two Balls Unique!Andy Murray Autographed Tennis Us Open Photograph With CoaVintage New Old Stock Nos Dunlop Xlt-15 Tennis Racquet Set Of 4!Roy Emerson Vic Seixas 2010 Leaf Sports Icons Tennis Hof Cut Auto 1/2Wilson Lady Advantage Vintage Wooden Tennis Racquet

Recent News: Tennis

Source: Google News

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > David Ferrer mit 24 ..., March 1st

David Ferrer hat beim Turnier in Acapulco seinen 24. Sieg auf der ATP-Tour gefeiert. Der 32-Jährige bezwang im Finale den Japaner Kei Nishikori mit 6:3, 7:5, sein insgesamt vierter Sieg in der mexikanischen Metropole. Im Jahr 2015 war es für Ferrer...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Gael Monfils sagt Davis-Cup ..., February 22nd

Vorjahresfinalist Frankreich muss im Erstrundenduell des Davis Cup gegen Deutschland (6. bis 8. März) auf den Weltranglisten-21. Gael Monfils verzichten. Die französische Nummer drei steht seinem Team in Frankfurt nicht zur Verfügung. In einem...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > Fed Cup: Kerber und Petkovic ..., February 6th

Bundestrainerin Barbara Rittner setzt beim erneuten Anlauf auf den Fed-Cup-Titel zunächst auf ihre bewährte Aufstellung. Für die Erstrundenpartie in Stuttgart gegen Australien nominierte Rittner Angelique Kerber (Kiel) und Andrea Petkovic (Darmstadt...Read more

Serena Williams storms into Australian Open semifinals
World Snap, January 27th

Melbourne : World No.1 Serena Williams stormed past 11th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in 65 minutes here Wednesday to reach her first Australian Open tennis semifinals since winning the title in 2010...Read more

Tomas Berdych knocks Rafael Nadal out of Australian Open
World Snap, January 26th

Melbourne : World No.7 Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic snapped a 17-match losing streak against Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, defeating him 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (5) here Tuesday to reach the Australian Open semifinals. In doing so, Berdych avoided ...Read more

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal nach Marathon-Match in dritter Runde - Philipp ..., January 21st

Neuer Tag, neues Glück! Vor allem galt dieses Motto wohl für den DTB. Während die Favoriten um Roger Federer und Andy Murray keine Probleme haben, muss Rafael Nadal sich ordentlich quälen. Julia Görges und Carina Witthöft überzeugen, Philipp ...Read more

Sie sind hier: Startseite > Tennis > Top News > 'Williams-Brüder': Russlands ..., October 18th

Eine unglaubliche Entgleisung vom russischen Tennis-Präsidenten Shamil Tarpischev schockt den Tenniszirkus. Tarpischev zweifelte im russischen Fernsehen das Geschlecht von Serena und Venus Wiliams an. Nun wurde der Präsident für ein Jahr von der ...Read more

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

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 · email...Read more