A smashing future lies ahead for Wimbledon's tennis memorabilia...
The oldest lawn tennis tournament in the world, and the only one still to be played on the game's original surface, grass, kicked off once more today, June 20 with the organisers expecting a profitable year as spectators flock to see Federer, Nadal and Andy Murrary at their best.

Tennis is truly an international game with devotees from all round the world.

Bjorn Borg and Jon McEnroe contest the epic Wimbledon 1981 final

Naturally there is great interest in the countries where the Grand Slam tournaments are held (UK, USA, France and Australia), but interest has also been generated in countries which have produced great players, with Russia being an obvious example.

Tennis memorabilia has been traditionally quite affordable for collectors compared to other major sports, and that includes Wimbledon.

In April 2011 the signed pair of tennis shoes worn by champion Boris Becker during his historic 1985 final, when he became the youngest player ever to win the men's title at the age of 17, were valued by an online memorabilia company at a lowly £595.

The price for a comparable pair of shoes in a sport such as baseball might be dozens of times that amount.

One of the few notable sales was five-time winner Bjorn Borg's Donnay Pro 'Personal Model' tennis racket from the 1981 Wimbledon final which sold for £6,600 at a Bonhams auction in 2006.

Sharapova defeats Serena Williams to win her first major tournament

Fred Perry, who was the last Englishman to win the Wimbledon men's title in 1936, is a key character in the more valuable memorabilia.

At a Christie's auction in 1997, several items of memorabilia belonging to the late tennis champion were sold including the trophy Perry received for winning Wimbledon in 1934 for £36,700, and the racquet he used to win his first Wimbledon title in 1933 for £23,000.

However, there are excellent reasons to think that the values of tennis collectibles across the board are likely to increase. The strength of the collectibles markets in both Russia and India (which has shown great interest in tennis collectibles) is increasing.

Better still, China's interest in tennis has just received a huge boost following Li Na becoming the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam tournament at Roland Garros. That means that it might be a smart time to buy in Wimbledon memorabilia as an alternative investment.

Of course, sometimes tennis stars are fans of non-tennis collectibles too. Maria Sharapova is famously a stamp collector.


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