Tennis Museum

Is there a Tennis Museum in Melbourne? In 2012, the answer is no, but there is a tennis museum slated to open at Melbourne Park one day.

We checked again in 2019 but was unable to find a museum. We'll keep an eye out but in the meantime, here is a story we read about a guy in Melbourne that collects tennis racquets, yes we said tennis racquets.

Tennis Heritage Australia

Rodney Lack has about 200 vintage tennis racquets in a bedroom at his Melbourne home. He's also a long-time player and fan of the game, but denies that he's a '' tennis tragic'' .

'' The real tragedy is my addiction to buying tennis stuff on eBay . . . I tell my wife I'm working ,'' says Mr Lack, 55, an auctioneer of industrial equipment.

There is a generous impulse behind his addiction. Mr Lack has co-founded Tennis Heritage Australia, a new group of collectors devoted to preserving the sport's history.

It hopes to assist in the creation of the tennis museum slated to open at Melbourne Park in about five years.

His racquets, valued at as much as $20,000, provide a glimpse of the museum's potential . He has wooden models with pig-gut strings from the early 1900s to 1930s, some handshaped in Australia from single strips of imported ash. They represent the '' glamour years"of tennis - the era in which international tournaments were contested primarily by the Australian , English and American upperclasses . '' Even in the championships, they used to quaff champagne and gin between games,'' Mr Lack says.

There's also a heavy, '' allweather"metal racquet from the 1920s, as well as the Wilson T2000, a version of the steel racquet pioneered by US player Jimmy Connors in the late 1960s.

'' Metal racquets have been around since 1887,'' Mr Lack says, '' but it wasn't until Connors that wood started to decline.''

The new metal racquets were durable and aerodynamic , but could not absorb shock as well, and led to many '' tennis elbows'' .

From the late 1970s, racquets were made of fibreglass, and then new-age graphites. Tennis racquet heads grew, providing a larger , more powerful '' sweet spot'' . Mr Lack's '' Gamma Big Bubba"has a 137-square-inch (884 square centimetres ) head; traditional racquets were 95 to 100 square inches. '' You couldn't miss at the net with this bad boy,'' he says. Other rare racquets in the collection include an unwieldy double-handled racquet and one with a sensor that measures the speed of your shots. It's the personal touches that interest his fellow Tennis Heritage Australia collectors. Denis Tucker, 69, has attended every Australian Open for more than 50 years and has set up a tennis museum at his Launceston home that includes one of the best collections of tennis autographs.

His friend Keith Jenkins, 60, has 1500 tennis books, 500 of them signed by the author or the player in question.

He, too, is a perennial Australian Open fan. '' I've played tennis all my life since I was seven. I just love the game,'' Mr Jenkins says.

Monash law academic Richard Naughton has just published The Wizard, a biography of Australian tennis champion Norman Brookes, the first non-British player to win Wimbledon, in 1907.

'' He was a left-hander and a net rusher in the days before that became fashionable,'' Mr Naughton says.

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