US Open Exhibit

Since 1999, the Museum has created a special exhibit each year to debut at the US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. Focusing on different themes, these exhibits allow the Museum to fulfill their mission and bring the stories of tennis to the fans. Several of these exhibits have built the base of our traveling exhibit program and are available for rent.


2009 – The Grand Slam: Tennis' Ultimate Achievement

In honor of the 40th anniversary of Rod Laver’s 1969 Singles Grand Slam and the 25th anniversary of Martina Navratilova’s and Pam Shriver’s 1984 Doubles Grand Slam, The Grand Slam: Tennis’ Ultimate Achievement chronicles the unique accomplishment of winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros (French Open), Wimbledon, and the US Open in the same calendar year. Beginning with Don Budge in 1938, the exhibit focuses on those champions who have won the Grand Slam in singles, doubles, mixed doubles, and juniors, and the challenges they faced in doing so.



2008 – Home Court: The Family Draw

This exhibit, researched by the Museum Staff and written by journalist Steve Flink, presents the stories of many remarkable tennis families. Home Court: The Family Draw provides an inspiring look at the timeless relationship of tennis and family. It is a journey that spans generations and reaches all parts of the globe. It is a story illustrating the most basic tenets of family—love, devotion, commitment, and sacrifice. Every family in this exhibition has a distinctive story, but they also have a common connection to a sport they believe is as large as life itself.

For more than a hundred years, tennis has served as a bond linking generations worldwide. From the moment a child picks up a tennis racquet for the first time, the bond between family and the game of tennis is forged. Whether it is recreationally, in junior tournaments, or on the world stage, tennis is a game defined by its family connection. 

Home Court: The Family Draw looks at many of these families through the ages and tells their unique story.  Through photographs, player memorabilia, interviews, and a specially produced video, Home Court provides a heartwarming and entertaining look at the timeless relationship of tennis and families. More than 80 families are represented and their stories chronicle the history of the game.

This exhibit is currently available to rent as part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program.

2007 – Breaking the Barriers: The ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers

Dale Caldwell (President of USTA Eastern) and historian Art Carrington served as Guest Curators of Breaking the Barriers: The ATA and Black Tennis Pioneers, a dynamic and significant exhibit created by the Museum. This important exhibit blends photos, newspaper accounts, video, and player memorabilia to create a lively, informative and thought provoking experience.

The exhibit describes the origins and history of the American Tennis Association (ATA), established in 1916 to promote the sport of tennis and to help blacks gain access to tournament tennis. There were many trailblazers in the fight for equality in tennis, most notably Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, whose accomplishments are an important part of the exhibit, but there are other stories told as well - notably, that of their early mentor, Dr. Robert Walter Johnson.

Over the course of several decades, "Dr. J" taught promising young black players the rudiments of the game, as well as instilling the ideals of sportsmanship, self-discipline and quiet persistence. As founder and director of the ATA Junior Development Program, Johnson worked tirelessly to gain admittance for his young players into previously segregated tournaments. Breaking the Barriers also features the unheralded champions of early black tennis including, Jimmie McDaniel, Dr. Reginald Weir, George Stewart, Tally Holmes, Gerald Norman, Oscar Johnson, Lucy Diggs Slowe, Ora Mae Washington, Isadora Channels and the Roumania and Margaret Peters.

This exhibit is currently available to rent as part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program.

2006 – ¡Vive el Tenis!: Common Threads Different Peoples

¡Vive el Tenis! was developed by the Museum to explore the different paths tennis has taken from its European roots through its establishment in Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay in the 1920s, and the continuing influence of those connections on the development of the sport throughout the vast expanse of North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.

The exhibit includes memorable photos and video featuring the many players from the past and present who have blazed the trail of the sport. This exhibit features charismatic stars such as Argentines Guillermo Vilas, Gabriela Sabatini, and David Nalbandian; Puerto Rico’s Gigi Fernandez; Chile’s Nicolás Massú and Marcelo Rios; Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten, and more, but it also highlights stars of earlier eras, like Chileans Anita Lizana and Luis Ayala, Brazil’s Maria Bueno, Ecuador’s Pancho Segura, Peru’s Alex Olmedo, and Mexico’s Rafael Osuña, among many others.   

This exhibit is currently available to rent as part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program.

2005 – Passing Shots: Photographer's Perspectives on Tennis

Photography is central to the game of tennis, and this art form has played a central role in the sport since the 1870s. Since then, tennis and photography have evolved together—or at least in tandem—as changes in the game and its culture have accompanied changes in photographic technology and our way of seeing. The Museum collaborated with 13 photographers to bring tennis to life for the fans.

 Tennis has always seemed particularly well-suited to photography and photography has always captured and evoked the game extraordinarily well. The geometry and scale of tennis enables the lens to encompass the game readily. The many ceremonies and rituals of tennis, as well as its set piece confrontations—server against receiver, for instance—seem readily to translate into well-composed images. Then, too, every player has a highly individualized style of play that the camera fixes in our mind’s eye. Players’ emotions—shown plainly in their faces, body language, and demeanor on the court—make for vivid, memorable pictures as well.

Perhaps, however, it is simply enough to say that tennis is a beautiful game played in charming or exciting settings by graceful and compelling athletes and, thus, has over the decades, attracted a large and varied array of creative people who use cameras expressively.  

This exhibit is currently available to rent as part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program.

2004 – Courting Favor: Tennis Posters from the Golden Age / A Passion for Tennis: Selections from the Albert & Madeleine Ritzenberg Tennis Collection

The specialty posters showcased in Courting Favor were drawn from the collections of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, the Collection of Alan G. Schwartz (former President of the USTA), and the Tennis Corporation of America. In the 1890s, the pictorial poster was a new concept. Growing consumer demand and the advent of color lithography coincided to launch a golden age of graphic inventiveness. The golden age of posters spanned the 1890s through the 1930s, a significant time in the development of tennis as well. In these decades the emergence of great players, who became international celebrities, heightened the sport’s popularity. This exhibit illustrates how tennis was the source of inspiration and imagery conveying vivid messages to the public about tennis and many other themes.

The select items displayed in A Passion for Tennis are from the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s newly acquired collection of tennis-themed objects ranging from the 15th Century through the 1930s. The Museum continually seeks to refine and expand its collections. The Albert & Madeleine Ritzenberg Tennis Collection, which covers virtually the entire history of tennis from the Renaissance through the 1930s, helps us fulfill this mission.

The more than 2,000 objects in the Collection were gathered during more than half a century of world travels by well-known [celebrated?] Washington, DC tennis pro Allie Ritzenberg and his wife Peggy (Madeleine), and contains paintings and sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs, textiles, china, porcelains, ceramics and glass, rare books and magazines, racquets and equipment, furniture and jewelry, and much more. The select objects from the Ritzenberg Collection, many on view for the first time, suggest the range and charm of this collection.

2003 – In the Zone: The Best at Their Best

English journalist John Parsons served as Guest Curator for In the Zone (the phrase comes from Arthur Ashe), and wrote, “Since the first tournament was played in England in the 1870s tennis has been richly spiced by awesome individual achievements.” This dynamic exhibit explores this theme through a combination of film and video, photographs, trophies, and memorabilia. In the Zone celebrates those great years and provides an engaging and potent experience for visitors of all ages and interests.

This exhibit presents the story in timeline form, tracing the major tournament winners across the 65 years since the first “Grand Slam,” starting in 1938—when Don Budge compiled the first true “Grand Slam”—through Serena Williams’ achievements of 2002-2003.

Holding all four major titles at the same time is a rare feat, and this exhibit focuses on those who did it—Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver (who managed it twice), Margaret Smith Court, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams—and the “near-misses” including, Tony Trabert, Lew Hoad, Roy Emerson, Billie Jean King, Jimmy Connors, Monica Seles, and Mats Wilander in addition to numerous other players who had exceptional years.

 This exhibit is currently available to rent as part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum’s Traveling Exhibit Program.

2002 – Face to Face: Tennis' Great Rivalries

The 2001 US Open quarterfinal match between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras was a heroic battle, filled with tension and drama. In such unforgettable matches in which two gifted, resourceful, and determined competitors confront each other across the net, in a sense no one really loses and the human spirit is triumphant.

Almost from the beginning tennis has been blessed with many such rivalries but Face to Face:Tennis’ Great Rivalries was the first exhibition to address this theme directly. Artfully written by Guest Curator Cindy Shmerler, and using the Museum’s collections, photography, film, video, and the testimony of the rivals themselves, this exhibit evoked this dimension of tennis.

Highlighting the many great rivalries throughout history, from Bill Tilden and Bill Johnston, to Helen Wills and Helen Hull Jacobs, to Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, to Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, and to Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, and many others, this exhibit brought the sense of competition and the frenzy of the game to life…and served as the perfect backdrop to the unanticipated Men’s Singles final match-up between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras

2001 – Dynamic Doubles!

Gene Scott (Hall of Fame Class of 2008) served as guest curator of this exhibit that focuses on the game that the vast majority of the tennis playing public enjoys—the game of doubles. Tennis is unique as a sport in that it is the only game that can be played as an individual or team sport and one that men and women can play together. While mainstream sports media tends to focus on the singles game and its champions, doubles—whether it be men’s, women’s or mixed—clearly highlights the skills necessary for a successful match. Where power has become a formidable tactic in the singles game, brainpower is more crucial in doubles. Consistency is central to success, as are anticipation, facile reflexes and an eye for angles. This exhibit highlights the great doubles teams and champions throughout history.

2000 – The Lady Is A Champ!

This exhibit celebrates the thirty-five American women who have won the US Championship since 1887, when Ellen Hansell was first crowned through the 1999 US Open Champion, Serena Williams. Hall of Famer and noted tennis historian Bud Collins served as guest curator of this exhibit, with Hall of Famers Billie Jean King and Pauline Betz, and WTA Tour representative Peachy Kellmeyer serving as content advisors. The show explores the winning U.S. championship player careers and contrasts the significant influences these historic champions have had on tennis and each other.

1999 – Their Eyes On The Prize: Historic Trophies & Players from the U.S. Championships

The inaugural exhibit by the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum, shown at the US Open and curated by Hall of Famer and noted tennis journalist Bud Collins, focuses on the history of the preeminent tournament in the United States. Initially known as the U.S. Nationals, the tournament, which began here on the hallowed lawns of the Newport Casino, has since evolved into the largest tennis event in the world—the US Open. This exhibit showcases the rewards of victory for the champions who claimed the ultimate prize. The history of this tournament—from its early days as a strictly amateur event to the professional, open-to-all, prize money chase game of today—is illustrated through historic trophies from the permanent collection of the Museum.