The International Tennis Hall of Fame has unveiled four new exhibits, just in time for Newport’s summer season. Featuring carefully curated selections of artifacts on display and a new interactive experience, the collections showcase items from Hall of Famers’ personal collections, unique pieces of tennis-themed artwork, and global contributions to the sport.
The four new exhibits include Il Tennis Nell’Arte: The Gianni Clerici Collection, Courting Caricatures: The Art of Marcel Niederle, a tribute to Hall of Famer Lleyton Hewitt, and an interactive globe featuring the digital exhibit Breaking Boundaries in Black Tennis.
“These new exhibits highlight the diversity of the ITHF Museum’s permanent collections and strengthen the stories we tell about the global game of tennis,” stated Nicole Markham, the ITHF’s Curator of Collections in a statement. “The pieces that were collected over a lifetime by Hall of Famer Gianni Clerici and chosen by the museum for our permanent collection, alongside the caricatures drawn by Marcel Niederle and gifted to the ITHF in 1991, have allowed us to build one of the strongest and most diverse tennis-themed art collections. We’re proud to showcase these items on exhibit for the first time.”
“Alongside memorabilia donated by new inductee Lleyton Hewitt and our enhanced interactive experiences, we’re confident every visitor will find something to learn and enjoy this summer in the ITHF Museum.”
The International Tennis Hall Of Fame provided the following backgrounds on each new exhibit;
Il Tennis Nell’Arte: The Gianni Clerici Collection
A world-renown journalist from Italy, Hall of Famer Gianni Clerici spent more than 50 years playing and commentating on tennis. He pursued the sport across the planet as a writer and broadcaster with a discerning and witty voice, beloved to his readers and fans for his flair and knowledge. Over the course of his career, Clerici amassed a collection of tennis-related art and artifacts that spans from the 17th to the 21st centuries and includes paintings, engravings, drawings, sculptures, clothing, and decorative arts. In 2021, the ITHF acquired 31 pieces from Clerici’s collection, which make up this new exhibit located in the Enshrinement Gallery. With Clerici’s recent passing at the age of 91 earlier this month, the installation is a timely honor to his memory, contributions, and passion for the game.
Courting Caricatures: The Art of Marcel Niederle
Marcel Niederle was a well-known Czech artist and tennis fan specializing in painting, drawing, and illustrations. After spending a number of years in New York City as an illustrator for Sports Illustrated magazine, Niederle returned to his native Czechoslovakia and corresponded with the founder and editor of World Tennis Magazine, Hall of Famer Gladys Heldman. Over the years, he sent almost 200 caricatures and drawings to Heldman for possible inclusion in the magazine. The selections of Niederle’s caricatures in the exhibit feature Hall of Famers illustrated during their playing days, from the 1950s through the 1970s, including Arthur Ashe, Maria Bueno, Rod Laver, Stan Smith, and more. Visitors additionally have the opportunity to draw their own caricature to add alongside the exhibit and share on social media.
A Tribute to Lleyton Hewitt
Ahead of his induction celebrations in July, the ITHF is showcasing several items gifted by Hall of Famer Lleyton Hewitt of Australia to the museum’s permanent collection. Among the items on display from Hewitt’s 20-year playing career are three trophies, a warm-up jacket from Australia’s 2000 Davis Cup final appearance, a racquet from the 2001 ATP Finals, and shoes from the 2016 Australian Open. These tennis pieces sit alongside a custom-made digeridoo depicting highlights from Hewitt’s career.
Breaking Boundaries Interactive Globe
The ITHF’s newest digital exhibit, Breaking Boundaries in Black Tennis, is now featured in the ITHF Museum’s Global Gallery in an interactive experience for visitors. Breaking Boundaries highlights the breakthroughs, evolution, and impact of Black tennis players and influential contributors to the sport globally. Visitors to the ITHF Museum can browse athletes’ and contributors’ profiles by navigating a touchscreen that reflects interactive profiles onto the globe interface. These profiles highlight the on-court achievements and lasting impact of Black players’ successes on the sport of tennis.
The ITHF is open to the public daily during summer months from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Visitors can purchase tickets in the Welcome Center, or plan their trip in advance by purchasing tickets online at tennisfame.com/museum-and-grounds. Tickets are $18 for adults, while children age 12 and under are admitted free.