The International Tennis Hall of Fame is a non-profit institution dedicated to preserving the history of tennis, inspiring and encouraging junior tennis development, enshrining tennis heroes and heroines and providing a landmark for tennis enthusiasts worldwide.
The Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino, site of the first U.S. National Championships in 1881, was founded by tennis innovator James Van Alen in 1954 as "a shrine to the ideals of the game." The Tennis Hall of Fame was officially sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association in 1954 and was recognized by the International Tennis Federation in 1986. Over the last ten years, the Hall of Fame complex and Museum have been restored to their original splendor with the 1997 completion of a five year, $7.5 million renovation and endowment project.
The Hall of Fame Museum
Built in 1880 by the firm of McKim, Mead and White, the Museum's galleries chronicle the rich history of tennis through interactive exhibits, dynamic videos, and popular memorabilia from historic champions and the superstars of today. Dramatically set in the original club rooms of the Casino, visitors of all ages delight in Stanford White's architectural detail as well as the state-of-the-art gallery experience. In Enshrinee hall, plaques commemorate the great players, coaches, administrators and writers that have been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Admission, Hours and Group Tours
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum welcomes visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily except Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, military or students with ID. Kids 16 & Under are free! Group tours for 15 or more may be arranged by calling the Tour Coordinator at (401) 849-3990. Special group discount rates are available.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization supported through contributions from private individuals and corporations in conjunction with membership support.
- The Newport Casino building -- designed in 1880 by the then fledgling architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White -- was Stanford White's first major commission.
- The Newport Casino was built as a social and recreational club, not as a place for gambling. In fact, "casina" is an Italian word for farmstead or "little house."
- The Casino structure had no American architectural precedent and only one possible precursor in England. The concept of renting the building's first floor to local merchants and using space on the second floor for the club was unique. In its heyday, the Casino offered archery, billiards, bowling, concerts, dancing, dining, horse shows, lawn bowling, reading, tea parties and theatricals in addition to the staples of its present day offerings -- lawn tennis and court tennis.
- In 1881, the Newport Casino hosted the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships. At that time, the championships consisted only of men's singles and doubles. The Casino continued to host the event until 1915, when it moved to Forest Hills, N.Y. The tournament is now known as the U.S. Open.
- The Casino's historic courts are the world's oldest continuously used competition grass courts and the only competition grass courts open to the public for play.
- The concept of putting a Tennis Hall of Fame at this site originated with Casino president James Van Alen, who would later invent the tennis tiebreaker and other innovative scoring systems.
- The International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum is the world's largest tennis museum and owns the world's largest collection of tennis memorabilia.
- Today, the Hall of Fame hosts the last remaining professional tennis events played on grass in North America.
- The Tennis Hall of Fame presently hosts the opening night concert of Newport's JVC Jazz Festival. The Casino was the site of the first Newport Jazz Festival in 1954.