The seminal work on the game's early years

Award-winning Vision Sports Publishing is delighted to announce the publication of this second edition of The Birth of Lawn Tennis in early 2024.

Written by the English and American tennis historians - Bob Everitt and Richard Hillway, this fine hard back book is lavishly produced with a wealth of previously unpublished illustrations and photographs (over 500) from the authors' own collections. Their research is seamlessly combined to form a tremendous tribute to both the game of lawn tennis and the past, present and future of the renowned All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

This seminal work on the birth of the game and its development over the first four years of its life begins with a detailed study of Major Walter Clopton Wingfield, the inventor. It examines his doubters and rivals, dispelling common myths as it cleverly weaves its way through a chronology of events culminating with a detailed description of the staging of the first Wimbledon Championship in 1877 and the players who took part. This mighty tome has taken authors Bob and Richard twenty years to compile. The depth of their research is breathtaking. Extending to over 570 pages, the book includes biographies of the players and tournament officials, with masses of information on manufacturers, a comparison of the rules, and a time-line of lawn tennis related events. Fully indexed, it will be a book desired by all tennis history loving fans and bibliophiles.

Foreword and edited by John Barrett MBE

About Bob Everitt

Bob Everitt was born in Wolverhampton in 1956 and was educated at Ettingshall Junior School and Bilston Boys’ Grammar Schools. He graduated from Wolverhampton College of Art in 1978 with an honours degree in graphic design and illustration. Since 1984, following several years of design studio experience in Wolverhampton and Birmingham he developed a career as a freelance graphic designer. He has been employed as a visiting lecturer in design, illustration and visualisation techniques on degree courses at Stafford and Stourbridge Art Colleges. One of his most unusual freelance commissions involved illustrating four postage stamps depicting members of the Royal Family, Princess Diana, and Princes William and Harry for a British Virgin Islands issue. Since he was 21-years-old, he has been a keen lawn tennis historian and researcher and has assembled a large and extensive collection of related and rare memorabilia. During the 1970s, he represented Staffordshire at lawn tennis, he achieved the unusual honour of winning his club’s junior singles championship while being the club’s official groundsman. Later he also secured the senior singles championships at his club and qualified as a lawn tennis teacher. More recently he also captured the club’s Veteran singles championship too. 

He has appeared on both BBC television and radio in connection with his interests and research. His collection and artwork were the subjects of a large and impressive exhibition at Wolverhampton Museum and Art Gallery during the summer months of 1992. His illustrative work was once chosen as a gift to present to Steffi Graf from her appreciative fan club. In 1994 several items of his tennis collection were used in scenes in the ITV drama ‘Dandelion Dead’. In 1997 he was appointed Designer of The Tennis Collector magazine, and from the summer of 2007 he became the Editor too, contributing over 60 articles and designing over 70 issues since. Following 100 issues of The Tennis Collector magazine, in the summer of 2021 the title changed to The Tennis Historian magazine and Bob has continued to design and edit its contents. 

He has previously authored two books. In 1995, he wrote One Hundred Sporting Summers followed by Racket Sports Collectibles (Schiffer Publications) in 2002. In 2014 he published (privately) a booklet entitled, Who Introduced Lawn Tennis? He has toured North America and has trekked the Himalayan region of Nepal. In 2012 he formed the company ‘Everitt Sporting Antiques’.

About Richard Hillway

Richard Hillway of Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA, is an international tennis historian who has authored over 120 published tennis history articles, many in the English and American “Tennis Collector” magazines. He is a collector of tennis books and letters, owning more than 2,000 of each, as well as hundreds of periodicals. He is an expert on Major Walter Wingfield and Bill Tilden, and has researched all of Colorado’s important tennis tournaments back to their beginnings.

Richard was a high school history teacher at Cherry Creek High School, Englewood, Co. (1969–80), a teaching tennis professional for 55 years in Greeley, Englewood, and Colorado Springs, the tennis director/pro at the Country Club of Colorado, C.S., (1981–2009), and is now retired. He is Founder and Chairman of the Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame (2000–2021).

Richard was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, in 1943 to Dr. Tyrus and Hazel Hillway along with sister Holly. The family moved to New London, Ct. (1946–51), but then moved to Greeley, Colorado, in 1951 to help cure Richard’s asthma. There he grew up and started tennis. He graduated from Greeley High School (1961), No. 1 in his class academically, and entered the University of Colorado (Boulder) on a full Boettcher Foundation scholarship, graduating in 1965 after being selected to Phi Beta Kappa and chosen as the University’s Outstanding Senior Athlete-Scholar. He then attended the University of New South Wales in Australia on a Rotary International Fellowship in 1967.

As a player, Richard was the Colorado high school state champion three times (1959–61), twice in No. 1 singles; played No. 1 singles at the University of Colorado for three years (1963–65); won a Big Eight Conference title (1963); and won the 1967 All Australian Universities tennis tournament in No. 2 singles (1967). He was ranked No.1 in men’s open singles in the six-state Intermountain Section in 1966 and 1970, won the Intermountain doubles three times, and won 15 major Colorado men’s singles and doubles titles. Perhaps his most interesting match occurred in the 1966 Colorado State Open when he lost to Chile’s Jaime Fillol 19–17 in the third set.

Richard was a head or assistant coach of 46 boys’ and girls’ high school state champion tennis teams. As head coach of the Cherry Creek HS boys’ tennis team, he helped build a dynasty by leading the team to eight consecutive state titles (1972–79) and to 115 consecutive dual meet wins. Starting with about 20 players, the team grew to 152 players in his last year. These two streaks grew later to 19 straight state titles and 316 consecutive dual meet wins. Richard was voted Colorado High School Tennis Coach of the Year the first four years the award was given (1977–80). He later was assistant coach for 36 boys’ and girls’ state championship tennis teams at Cheyenne Mountain HS (1986–2014).

He taught tennis to most of the varsity players at each school for many years prior to their entering high school. Neither team had ever won a tennis team state title before. Richard was a USTA/Colorado committee member for over 40 years, Chairman of the Awards Committee for 22 years, received the Bud Robineau Award for service to tennis in 1978, and has been a USPTA member for over 30 years. His father Tyrus, a professor, founded the international Herman Melville Society in 1945.

Book details

ISBN: 9781913412593
Format: Hardback
Pages: 572
Size: 280mm x 220mm
Weight: 2100 grammes
Illustrations: Full colour throughout