8 Most Expensive Tennis Rackets of All Time

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Modern tennis started getting really popular in the 1960s, but the game has roots dating back to the 12th century in France. The tennis ancestor was called jeu de paume, roughly translating to “game of the palm.” This sport (sometimes called “real tennis,”) has become relatively obscure today, but some athletes still play the game.

The transition from “real tennis” to modern tennis is debated among historians, but many point to the 1870s as a turning point when a Welsh inventor named Major Walter Clopton Wingfield patented his game called “lawn tennis.” This sport is a little different from the tennis we know today, especially among American athletes, but it’s very similar to standard tennis matches played by millions in the modern era.

Tennis is a really popular sport today and it’s usually not too pricey to start playing. However, some tennis equipment can be very expensive. A lot of high-end rackets go for more than $1,000, but the most expensive rackets hold historical significance.

Learn more about the world’s most expensive tennis rackets with this list.

  1. The Prada Tennis Racket
  2. Estimated Value: $1,990
    Unique Feature: Comes with a case featuring the Prada logo
    Maker or Brand: Prada
    Reason for Price: Popular brand and pricey materials
    The Prada Tennis Racket
    photo source: prada.com

    Prada is known for its pricey clothing (like this $2,300 jacket), but did you know the brand also makes sports equipment? That’s right, the luxury clothes-maker is behind several pricey athletic products like this basketball going for more than $700. Looking for an indoor sport? Prada has you covered with ping-pong paddles priced at over $2,000.

    So what about tennis? Yeah, Prada has that too. The high-end brand offers a tennis racket coming in at a cool $1,990. The simple design features a minimal body available in red or black. Buyers also get a carrying case complete with the Prada logo and an adjustable strap. For environmentally conscious buyers, that nylon case is made from plastics collected from the ocean.

    Did you know?

    Everyone knows you should stay hydrated while playing sports. Prada has you covered during intense tennis matches with this metal water bottle priced at $85. Why’s it so expensive? The bottle is made from stainless steel, but most of the price really comes down to the allure of the Prada brand.

  3. Tilt-Head Racket From the 1800s
  4. Estimated Value: GBP 1,645 (about $2,100 USD)
    Unique Feature: Sheepskin grip
    Maker or Brand: Henry Malings of Woolwich
    Reason for Price: Rare example
    Tilt-Head Racket From the 1800s
    photo source: christies.com

    Tennis memorabilia is typically expensive — especially when it’s antique. There have been a few examples of old tennis equipment fetching a nice chunk of change over the years. This antique tennis ball cleaner from the 1920s, for example, went for GBP 60 (about $80) several years ago. Not bad, but how high can prices go?

    Well, it turns out they can go way higher.

    In 2002, a rare tennis racket caught the attention of wealthy sports fans. The unique example of a racket from the 1800s features a sheepskin grip (which isn’t common anymore), walnut and ash materials, and a stamp indicating Henry Malings of Woolwich was the maker. The unique find went for way more than 80 bucks — the final bid came in at over $2,000!

    After that crazy expensive racket sold, the same auction house offered two tennis balls signed by none other than Roger Federer for a whopping GBP 1,625 (or about $2,100).

    Did you know?

    This rare tennis racket features original stringing. The historical equipment was expected to go for between GBP 1,500 and 2,000.

  5. Kylie Jenner’s Chanel Tennis Racket
  6. Estimated Value: $2,499
    Unique Feature: Chanel branding
    Maker or Brand: Chanel
    Reason for Price: Luxury brand
    Kylie Jenner’s Chanel Tennis Racket
    photo source: vogue.co.uk

    Maybe you don’t think of athletics when you think about Kylie Jenner, but the star says she was actually pretty into sports for a while. “I think that people don’t know that I’m really good at sports,” she said during a question and answer session, “I was on the boys’ football team.”

    Although Kylie’s known more for her wealthy lifestyle and modeling today, she’s still shown some interest in athletics… sort of. In 2020, the non-billionaire posed with a Chanel tennis racket while wearing a Chanel crop top and Chanel sweats. That’s a lot of Chanel!

    The racket is technically called the Chanel Oak Tennis Racquet (the brand uses the British spelling of the word) — and it goes for an eye-popping $2,499.

    Chanel isn’t super involved with the sports industry, but the company does offer a selection of sporty-fresh fragrances under its ALLURE HOMME SPORT collection. A small bottle of the scent goes for about $90 — but that’s just for the cologne. Add the deodorant and that’ll cost you $40 more.

    Did you know?

    Kylie Jenner is no stranger to ultra-expensive purchases. In 2020, reports emerged that the reality TV star bought a California home for over $36 million!

  7. Pair Of Eton Presentation Rackets
  8. Estimated Value: £4,300 (about $5,600 USD)
    Unique Feature: Silver mounts
    Maker or Brand: Eton
    Reason for Price: Rare antique
    Pair Of Eton Presentation Rackets
    photo source: sportantiques.co.uk

    Tennis has a long history in the United Kingdom. A notable modern version of the sport was created by a Welsh Renaissance man, and Oxford has been home to a tennis court since the 1500s.

    It’s no surprise then that the U.K. has plenty of unique and antique tennis memorabilia — including this rare set of Eton rackets from the year 1890. The historic find has a price tag of about $5,600!

    The auction house behind these pricey rackets says they’re sold inside their original presentation case with markings indicating their age and origin. Interestingly, both rackets feature real silver at the base of their grips — probably because they were a decorative award given to a British tennis player.

    The set is in “very good” condition, but both rackets have damaged strings.

    Interested in this set? Be ready to drop £120 to have it shipped to the U.S., or pay £25 for shipping within the U.K.

    Did you know?

    These tennis rackets were awarded to an athlete named Walter S. M. Burns. Walter played tennis at Cambridge. One report described Walter as “a keen shot” and described the tennis player’s travels across Europe, America, and England.

  9. Björn Borg’s Donnay Pro Rackets
  10. Estimated Value: $8,683
    Unique Feature: Borg’s name branding
    Maker or Brand: Donnay
    Reason for Price: Historic value
    Björn Borg’s Donnay Pro Rackets
    photo source: imdb.com

    Björn Borg is definitely one of the most iconic tennis players of all time. The athlete won five Wimbeldons between 1976 and 1980, cementing him as one of the best players of all time.

    As such a famous player, anything owned or used by Borg is sure to sell for thousands — and that’s exactly what happened with his set of Donnay Pro rackets. The couple was gifted to a member of Borg’s management after either the 1980 or ‘81 Wimbledon final. The set remained in the possession of that management team member until 2006 when it sold for more than $8,000 at a Bonhams auction.

    Did you know?

    Donnay was the world’s leading tennis racket maker in the 1970s.

  11. Serena Williams’ Smashed Racket
  12. Estimated Value: $20,910
    Unique Feature: Smashed by Williams
    Maker or Brand: Wilson
    Reason for Price: Historic value
    Serena Williams’ Smashed Racket
    photo source: nytimes.com

    Serena Williams is inarguably one of the best tennis players of all time, but that doesn’t mean she always wins. In 2018, the athlete lost the United States Open final against Naomi Osaka — then smashed her racket in anger. The moment stirred up a lot of controversy, so it may not be surprising that the ill-fated racket became an iconic piece of tennis memorabilia. Reports say the racket sold for more than $20,000, making it the third-most expensive tennis racket on the planet.

    Did you know?

    Despite smashing her racket, Serena Williams said Naomi Osaka “deserved to win” the match.

  13. Roger Federer’s 2011 French Open Racket
  14. Estimated Value: $55,000
    Unique Feature: Signed by Federer
    Maker or Brand: Wilson
    Reason for Price: Historic value
    Roger Federer’s 2011 French Open Racket
    photo source: sportskeeda.com

    Roger Federer was born in 1981 in Switzerland and started playing tennis at the age of eight. The athlete quickly rose to fame as one of the best players of all time, winning a record-breaking eight Wimbledon titles. Federer also made history by becoming the first player to win 20 Grand Slam men’s singles.

    In 2020, Federer’s racket from the 2011 French Open sold for a jaw-dropping $55,000. The historic racket was signed by the player in black Sharpie and stands as the second-most expensive tennis racket of all time.

    Did you know?

    Roger Federer won the 1998 Wimbledon junior singles championship.

  15. Billie Jean King’s Racket
  16. Estimated Value: $125,000
    Unique Feature: Vintage Wilson branding
    Maker or Brand: Wilson
    Reason for Price: Historic value
    Billie Jean King’s Racket
    photo source: bardown.com

    Billie Jean King’s racket is the most expensive tennis racket of all time.

    In 1973, Billie Jean King made history by defeating her male opponent Bobby Riggs. Bobby claimed no female player could ever beat him, he even bet $100,000 Billie Jean King would lose. The two played in front of a massive audience in a match dubbed Battle of the Sexes — and Billie Jean King won.

    Years later, in 2017, the racket King used to defeat Bobby Riggs sold at auction for $125,000, making it the most expensive tennis racket of all time.

    Did you know?

    10% of the money earned during this racket’s auction was donated to the Women’s Sports Foundation.


Head of Content at Rarest.org


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