As a lover of tennis, I’ve always admired the men and women who pioneered my favorite sport, like Venus & Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Billie Jean King, René Lacoste, and Suzanne Lenglen for their passion for the game, competitiveness, and raw talent. I had no idea the international Tennis Hall of Fame, the only one of its kind in the world, was located so close to our new home, so when we visited Newport recently, it was a place both Robin and I wanted to visit.
International Tennis Hall of Fame
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Address:194 Bellevue Ave
Newport, RI 02840
Admission: $16 per Adult Ticket
Hours: See hours here
Parking: Across the street from museum
Handicap Accessible: Outside yes, indoors no
The Newport Casino is the modern day home of the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The casino opened in 1880, however it wasn’t a casino in the sense that people gambled money there, rather it was a local term for a social club. The following year, the Newport Casino hosted the first United States tennis tournament, which only allowed white men who played singles to compete. Anyone who wasn’t white, male, or who played doubles was not permitted to even apply to participate. This sparked not only local but national interest in the sport, which had originated in Europe (in France, later refined in England), helping the sport become more popular than soccer or American Football for a time.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame houses information about the history of the sport, as well as prominent players who have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. All of the people I mentioned above have been inducted into what’s considered to be the highest honor in the tennis world, the International Tennis Hall of Fame. In addition to excellent players, the museum also showcases promoters, supporters, and financiers of the sport, without whom, the popularity of tennis may have been stalled.
As part of the educational aspect of the museum, the museum acknowledges that tennis became much more interesting, and progressed to its golden age, when the sport and its accompanying competitions opened to women and people of color. In fact, some of the best tennis players to have ever lived, like Venus & Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are not only women but also people of color. Tennis would be extremely boring if it was still only limited to men with a certain skin color.
Speaking of some of the most famous and talented tennis players to have ever lived, the museum currently has around 2,500 objects such as championship cups, outfits, and tennis racquets played with or earned by famous tennis players on display. The museum reportedly has another 25,000 additional such objects in its archives for its rotating exhibits. One of my favorite aspects of this museum was that they had some of the coolest outfits worn by tennis players from all around the world, like one of Serena William’s famous cat suits, as well as adorable tennis dresses that I wish I could recreate for myself!
Even if fashion isn’t your thing, the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI has interactive kiosks and displays, including a couple of touch screen games, plus a 3D hologram of tennis legend Roger Federer who shares his passion about the game with audiences.
Looking for a place to play tennis? The International Tennis Hall of Fame has grass, hard top and even a clay tennis court visitors can reserve for use during a visit, or locals can sign up for a membership to play at the Hall of Fame.
Once travel restrictions lift, and international travel can resume, it’s safe to say that these courts will once again have novices and tennis professionals from all over the world using them once again.