Tennis Museum Collection

The Racket Collection

The Racket Collection includes over three thousand original rackets which document the evolution of tennis rackets, from the earliest days to modern times. For additional reading on the evolution of tennis, its equipment, and collecting, several outstanding books are available in our Tennis Heritage Shop.

Some nine centuries ago a ball game known as Jeu de Paume was played in France, using the palm (paume) to strike the ball "to and fro". As the game matured, a glove-like covering was used to protect the hand, and eventually wood bats known as battoirs were developed. By the 16th century the strung racket had been devised, and though there were many different shapes and stringing methods, the strung racket became standard equipment for the game of Court Tennis.

After Lawn Tennis became formalized in the early 1870s, the racket went through a series of distinct evolutionary stages as outlined below. Each section features a series of classic rackets representing the genre.