TOURNAMENT HISTORY

Just after Wimbledon each year, top ATP World Tour pros head to Newport to compete in the Hall of Fame Open, the first stop of the summer swing for pro tennis in the United States. Contested on the historic grass tennis courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which have hosted all the legends of the sport since 1880, the tournament is the only event played on grass courts outside of Europe, and it offers the only opportunity to see professional men's tennis in the Northeast prior to the US Open.

THE NEWPORT CASINO

The International Tennis Hall of Fame and its historic grass courts are located in the Newport Casino, a National Historic Landmark property. The stunning 7-acre property was constructed in 1880. Commissioned by New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, the grand venue initially served as a social club for the elite summer residents of Newport. Three days after it opened in July 1880, the Newport News boasted, “It is doubtful if a livelier place can be found.”

 

The name of the property is not indicative of gambling. “Casino” is derived from the Italian word, la casina or “little house.” The Newport Casino was designed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White and is one of the finest examples of American Shingle Style Architecture.

 

In recognition of its social, sporting, and architectural significance in American history, the Newport Casino was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

TENNIS IN NEWPORT – AND IN AMERICA!

The history of tennis in Newport is synonymous with tennis in America. On August 31, 1881, the first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship was contested at the Newport Casino, among a field consisting of 25 participants, and accompanied by a string quartet. Bostonian Dick Sears emerged as the country’s first champion, going on to win the first seven championships (1881-1887) before retiring undefeated.

 

By 1914, the event had outgrown Newport, and relocated to New York City. Today, it is known as the US Open. The perpetual US Open trophies are displayed in the museum in Newport—be sure to take a peek when you’re at the tournament.

 

Newport has witnessed each new generation of tennis stars from 1881 to the present. After the U.S. Nationals relocated to New York, the world’s foremost players continued to play in Newport through various significant events.

 

  • From 1915 to 1967, the Casino Invitational hosted the world’s premier players. The list of tennis stars that played and won at Newport reads like a who’s who in tennis- “Big” Bill Tilden, “Little” Bill Johnston, Ellsworth Vines, Frank Shields, Wilmer Allison, Don Budge, Bobby Riggs, Don McNeil, Gardner Mulloy, Ted Schroeder, Bill Talbert, Pancho Gonzales, Frank Sedgman, Tony Trabert, Ken Rosewall, Mal Anderson, Rod Laver, Chuck McKinley, Roy Emerson, and Dennis Ralston.

 

  • The VASSS Pro Tennis Championships lasted from 1965 to 1970 and in 1971, professional women’s tennis finally came to Newport with the Professional Women’s Singles and the Professional Women Doubles from 1971-74. Standing room only crowds watched Kerry Melville, Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, and Françoise Dürr play exceptional tennis. The Virginia Slims of Newport returned from 1983-1986.

 

In 1976, the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, a stop on the ATP World Tour, debuted attracting many of the young talents on the men's tour. The tournament continues today, as the Hall of Fame Open.

TIMELINE OF NOTABLE TENNIS EVENTS IN NEWPORT

1881-1914

U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championships
 

1915-1967

Newport Casino Invitational
 

1921

Davis Cup Host
 

1965-1970

VASSS Pro Tennis Championships
 

1971-1974
Virginia Slims of Newport (Women’s tournament)

 

1976-1984

Miller Lite Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP)

1983-1998

Virginia Slims of Newport (Women’s tournament)

1985-1990

Volvo Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP)
 

1991

Davis Cup Host, USA def. Spain 4-1

1991-2003

Miller Lite Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP)
 

2004-2012

Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP)

2013-2016

Hall of Fame Tennis Championships (ATP)

2017-18

Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open (ATP)

2019

Hall of Fame Open (ATP)

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194 Bellevue Ave, Newport, RI 02840 USA

(401) 849-6053

tournament@tennisfame.com

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JULY 12-19, 2020

International Tennis Hall of Fame

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

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