Your Day In Newport: A Guide to Visiting the Tennis Hall of Fame
Sep 27, 2023
Even though this magazine is titled “Florida Tennis”, in this article we’ll be taking you up the coast to Rhode Island, where a lot of tennis history is held. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is situated right on the coast of Rhode Island, in classy Newport. In the ocean fragrance aroma, with the airspace breached by squawking seagulls, a brown colonial set of buildings, their trim bordered by peeling green paint, are the beautiful structures that make up the grounds of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Parking might be the only difficulty, as Newport is a popular tourist town with picturesque beaches and plenty of sightseeing. But other than that, the Tennis Hall of Fame is perfectly placed, as what is now known as the US Open was held here first.
It’s easy to spot the entrance from Bellevue Avenue, as the front of the museum is adorned by flags from various countries. Once you enter, you will pass through an atrium preceding the first grand sight you will encounter.
In front of you is Horseshoe Court. Over 100 years ago, this was the equivalent to Arthur Ashe Stadium. It’s on this court where the US Open was played, and the attractive balconies that surround you were the stadium where the fans would sit. But that’s not what we’re here for.
After a short walk along the rim of Horseshoe Court, you will enter the museum. After checking in, a quick walk up the Grand Staircase will bring you into the main area of the museum. Along the staircase are trophies from all sorts of tournaments held here and all over the globe.
Once you walk through a short hallway, bearing an aerial view of Horseshoe Court, you will arrive in the inductee room. This is where the true tennis history has been held. Thiese are the first inductees, right up to Esther Vergeer and Rick Drainey, this year’s class. Take a moment to study each plaque of every player in this room, what they have accomplished, and what they have done for the sport.
More rooms guide you through the history of tennis clothes to how tennis racquets have been made. And if you need an interactive experience, you can play with a friend or against the computer on a tv-screen tennis court, where your tennis trivia knowledge will be tested. You can also try commentating a famous tennis moment.
Once passing through almost every room, you will come to the gem of the museum, something that attracts people the most. It’s the Roger Federer hologram, a complete, life-like version of the 20-time Grand Slam champion himself, explaining to you the 10 things he likes about tennis the most. And right outside of the hologram room is a case containing his match kit, which he wore during his final bow at the 2022 Laver Cup.
This is just a fraction of the history and importance that the Tennis Hall of Fame holds, but to everyone out there, in Florida or not, it’s important to come here if you are a true tennis fan, as it will give you a sense of appreciation for the game, and you’re sure to learn something you’ve never learned before.
William Turvey is the founder and owner of TenniUpdate, the weekly tennis newsletter. It is based and printed in Concord, Massachusetts. Besides writing for TenniUpdate, William has made other contributions to tennis magazines and publications and is currently working on a book about classic tennis matches. You can find his business at tenniupdate.com. Photos/Video: International Tennis Hall of Fame. This article also appears in the September-October 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.