Tennis has a beautiful history, and Jim McCready is at the forefront of keeping that history alive and in front of tennis and sport fans across the world.
Former Director of The APTA and a legend both on the tennis and platform tennis courts, Jim states that “tennis has been his life.” His collection subtitled, Tennis At The Turn, started at The Belle Haven Club in Greenwich, Connecticut with a couple of 19th Century beautifully crafted wooden racquets. 40 years later, Jim is still accumulating racquets, memorabilia and art all connected to the history of tennis and sport.
Jim was way ahead of his time, doing the “year-round gig” teaching paddle and tennis at not only the Belle Haven Club, but also at Armonk Tennis Club (NY), Montclair Golf Club (NJ), and Spring Brook Country Club (Morristown, NJ). As a paddle and tennis instructor, Jim was well placed to become a historian of racquet sports. His love for the game pours over into his curatorial power over a dynamic, historic collection.
Jim believes that racquet sports are unmatched in teaching life’s lessons. Whether part of the industry or just a player, racquet sports teach that individualism required as we tread the floorboards of life.
In regard to the collection, “trying to find a pristine racquet from the turn of the century is getting harder and harder.” Having exhibited the collection around the world including in London, the former Family Circle stadium in Charleston, SC, and elsewhere, Jim is looking to possibly find a permanent locale and gallery for his tremendous trove of tennis treasures.
Jim takes us through the evolution of tennis from the Royal Game, otherwise known as Real or Court Tennis and how the racquets changed from angled and small heads to where the head straightened out and were enlarged for lawn tennis and those early Wimbledon competitors. Where did the scoring come from? Jim is the man to take us through the evolution of tennis just prior to the first Wimbledon in 1877. The game hasn’t changed much – a slightly lower net and the composition of the racquets, but much has not changed since those lofty days in the English countryside.
You can find out all about Jim and his collection at The Driftway Collection online or check out his Instagram and Facebook pages of the same name.