Roger Federer’s retirement raises the question of whether the legend will one day have his own tennis museum, like his friend Rafael Nadal does. The Spaniard’s personal hall of fame and the official tennis hall of fame are both among these eight attractions dedicated to the most aesthetically pleasing sport on the planet.
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Eight museums around the world the tennis fan can't miss
From the International Tennis Hall of Fame to the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon, check out the best museums the tennis world has to offer.
Published Sep 17, 2022
Newport, Rhode Island
A hologram of Roger Federer is coming next spring to the legendary museum, home of the sport’s official shine of champions. You’ll be able to feel like you’re standing next to the future inductee in action, so close you could be his doubles partner. Meanwhile, the year-round attraction is an exquisite sight to see as a National Historic Landmark. Walk the manicured grounds, book a grass court for $150 an hour, record yourself doing your best Bud Collins call of a match in the broadcast booth, see artifacts like tournament posters and vintage tennis board games, and learn the stories of little-known players who have broken social barriers. The must-see: one of 40 “real tennis” courts in the world, where you can watch members play the original version of the modern game on a traditional high-walled court.
Vamos to this dynamic palace of all things Rafa drawing fans all the way to his hometown on the island of Mallorca. A visit starts in a tunnel of video screens, cueing the energetic hour or two bouncing between sports simulators, colorful artifact displays, a virtual-reality game against Rafa himself, many of his biggest trophies, clay-stained shoes, and tributes to other world-class champions Nadal admires. Walk outside to see students practice on the Rafa Nadal Academy courts, and don’t miss the Roland Garros restaurant.
See the iconic ladies’ and gentlemen’s trophies up close, feel the fabric of a Victorian-era tennis outfit, examine Serena Williams’ shoes, cue up videos of finals, and sit on Roger Federer’s locker-room bench at this modernized memorial to the sport’s biggest tournament. A museum ticket includes a short trip to Court 1 for a peek, but many visitors also take the separate grounds tour to see Centre Court, the BBC broadcast booth, and other behind-the-scenes areas—even the players’ nail bar.
New York City
Her archives—letters, personal notebooks, memorabilia—are held at the public institution in Manhattan, illuminating her leadership and courage in the fight for equality. Some of the collection is on tour around the country as an exhibit, while the rest remains searchable to visitors.
The onsite French Open museum has closed to the public, but it lives on digitally. Spin through a 3D recreation of the racquet and poster galleries to see interactive renderings of legendary sticks (including a 1950s foldable travel racquet with a screw-on handle) and listen to a docent's audio descriptions of all 43 official French Open posters, one created each year by an established artist since 1980.
The collector who set the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest repository of tennis racquets puts his prized possessions on display in an art gallery in this European capital. All are graphically arranged on crisp white walls, with podiums reserved for the racquets of Slovakia's best players, including Miloslav Mecir, Marian Vajda, Daniela Hantuchova and Dominika Cibulkova.
“Battle of the Sexes” memorabilia lines three walls of a clubhouse space inside Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle near San Diego. Highlights include his yellow warmup jacket sponsored by Sugar Daddy candy, one of Billie Jean King’s outfits from the match, and Riggs’s Wimbledon and US Open trophies.
Blue Ridge, Georgia
A personal collection of 1,500 player-endorsed wooden racquets spans the decades, displayed on walls with a photo of each star. Parsing through the artifacts, you’re bound to see something for the first time—like boxed tennis balls sold in the 1940s, when all metal was used for the war effort.