FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – In addition to watching tennis at the U.S. Open, spectators between matches or rain delays can visit the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit at the Chase Center, across the walkway from Louis Armstrong Stadium in a space also shared by the U.S. Open Bookstore and a photo exhibit on Arthur Ashe curated by his widow – Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe.
For the 14th year the museum, based in Newport, R.I. has had an exhibit at the tournament. This year’s exhibit is “Tennis and the Olympics.”
“It’s a very current and topical event and it also shows how international tennis is,” said Douglas Stark the museum’s director. “And it also highlights all of the Hall of Famer’s who participated. We’ve had 39 Hall of Famers that have participated and medaled in the Olympics. It shows also how important tennis is to the Olympics, but also how international it is and how reflective of the globalization of the game is as well as fact is that we are the International Tennis Hall of Fame.”
Tennis in the Olympics began in 1896 and was an Olympic sport until 1924. It came back into the Olympics as a demonstration sport in 1968 and 1984 and returned as a full medal sport in 1988. The exhibit also includes the Para-Olympics since it began in 1992.
Each panel in the exhibit represents a different Olympiad.
“What we did is we purchased the old Olympic posters, copies of the Olympic posters through all the years and that’s the backdrop of along the back of each of the panels,” said Stark.
It took some time to acquire the photographs and posters used in the exhibit, but the most difficult task was collecting items from the1904 Olympics, held in St. Louis, MO.
“1904 St. Louis which was in conjunction with the world’s fair, it was the first time it was held in America and it was the centennial of the Louisianna Purchase and it was mostly Americans that participated,” Said Stark.” We just had difficulty getting some images. We worked with some collections in St. Louis to try to help us.”
In addition there is an extension of the exhibit in the US Open American Express Fan Experience. “We have two exhibit cases that are an extension of this exhibit so we have some artifacts that players used,” Stark mentioned.
Some two dozen artifacts in the extension which include a hat that Pam Shriver had which contains Olympic pins she had collected, a dress that Venus Williams wore in the Beijing Olympics in 2008m a dress from Anrantxa Sanchez Vicario and an Andy Roddick shirt signed from the Athens games in 2004.
“It’s clearly one of the more timely exhibits of recent events in the world,” said Stark. Two weeks after the Olympics end we are able to do this exhibit about the history of tennis in the Olympics and to bring it up to the current Olympics.”