Smash Hit

The Evolution of the Tennis Racquet

The tennis racquet is one of the most personal aspects of the sport for a player—customized for each person, carefully selected after trial and error, and serving almost as a teammate of sorts in a primarily individual sport. It’s clutched close for every point, spoken to softly in intense moments, flung in the air in the exuberance of a win, and sometimes takes the brunt of a player’s heated frustration.

Development of such an essential and personal piece of equipment has been no simple task over the years. Rather, tennis racquets have evolved immensely with manufacturers and athletes experimenting with different styles of frame shape and size, construction materials, means of fabrication and production, strings and stringing patterns, and handle shapes.

Smash Hit is not an encyclopedic exploration of the history of tennis racquets or even of the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s collection of 1,200+ racquets. Nor will it only show pristine examples of any particular model. This curated piece illustrates the evolution of the tennis racquet through time, and by featuring our Hall of Famers—whether as a player or innovator—using the collections of the Museum.

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