30-love: Have a passion for tennis? You’ll enjoy this display at the Arts & Heritage museum

HARLINGEN — For more than 30 years, Andy Carter has been collecting tennis memorabilia, most of which he has had stored away in boxes for years.

But, starting today, many of those items will be on display for all to see at the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum.

The World Tennis Museum exhibit will be in a room at the facility.

Carter, who has been the director of tennis at Harlingen Country Club for more than 20 years, is thrilled to show off his collection.

“I think people are going to enjoy seeing all the different items and it will bring back some memories,” he said.

Some of the famous tennis names that will be represented through the memorabilia include Andre Agassi, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg and more recently, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick and Venus Williams.

The collection includes pro player used rackets, prototype rackets, art work, clothing and signed, framed magazine covers.

He has Roger Federer’s 2005 racket he used in the Wimbledon final.

Carter said Federer gave the signed racket to Alan Mills, the Wimbledon tournament referee, at the end of the match.

Mills retired in 2005 after 23 years of being in charge of the world’s most well-known tennis tournament. Carter obtained the racket from Mills.

However, his collection goes back much further than just the 1970s.

Carter is most proud of his Bill Tilden items. Tilden was the best player in the world for six years in the early 1920s.

He had a 42-match winning streak and won 10 Grand Slam events. One of his longtime records stood until 2015. He is considered one of the best tennis players of all time.

On display will be rackets, a shirt, a trophy and the traveling tennis net Tilden used to take around with him for his exhibition tennis matches.

Carter believes the local tennis players, including those in middle school and high school, will enjoy the opportunity to see this memorabilia.

Right now, the only way people can see his stuff is on a website. That is limited, also.

Carter admits only about an eighth of his collection is on his website.

“It’s hard doing this job and the museum,” Carter said about his full-time job teaching tennis at HCC.

But, he knows one thing, tennis is a great sport and he enjoys being around the club members and meeting new people.

He also is proud to watch the younger students grow up to play college tennis. There’s plenty of that happening in the area.

“Harlingen, surprisingly because of its small size, is a huge tennis town,” Carter said.

A native of Austin, Carter started taking lessons in tennis at the age of 6. He didn’t start playing tennis seriously until the age of 13. He earned an associate’s degree in tennis technology at Tyler Junior College.

Now, he is excited about the opening of the museum exhibit.

“It’s been a lot of work,” he said of the display. “I am excited for some feedback. I think people are going to love it.”

What’s the Arts & Heritage Museum all about?

The Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum includes three historical buildings on the grounds at 2425 Boxwood Street.

Along with the Lon C. Hill home and the Paso Real Stagecoach Inn, the museum is located in the former Air Police Squadron and Brig of the Harlingen Air Force Base.

The building houses the permanent collection of Harlingen and Texas historical objects and photos. The main museum building features rotating arts and cultural exhibits.

The tennis exhibit runs from today through Oct. 16.

There will be a reception on Sept. 15 and a second reception involving professional player meet-and-greet on Oct. 15 to coincide with Harlingen Country Club’s 2016 Men’s 25,000 Futures USTA Pro Circuit Event.

Some of the memorabilia to see from tennis superstars

Andre Agassi’s shoes worn during 1992 Wimbledon final

Bjorn Borg signed art and match-used signed racket

Bill Tilden racket and trophy

Jimmy Connors signed rackets

Chris Evert signed rackets and Sports Illustrated editions

Roger Federer signed racket

John McEnroe signed Sports Illustrated covers

Pete Sampras signed Sports Illustrated covers

Stadium seats from the U.S. Open

Want to see more of Carter’s collection? Log onto www.worldtennismuseum.com/