The International Tennis Hall of Fame is undergoing a $3 million renovation to expand its exhibit space and revamp the plaque gallery, timed for the upcoming enshrinement of tennis legends such as Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

“When you think about this golden era of who’s going to be inducted in the next five to 10 years, (it’s) perfect timing,” Hall CEO Dan Faber said in a news conference announcing the plans.

Most visible among the upgrades will be a new display for the inductees, replacing plaques on the wall with a lineup of markers, each featuring a golden tennis racket that mirrors the Hall’s logo. A replica of the racket will be presented to the inductee during the enshrinement ceremony.

“It truly represents the prestige of that honor for both players and contributors,” said Reese Stevens, who helped design the new displays. “The golden-cast rackets will symbolize what it means to be a Hall of Famer.”

The gallery of inductees will move from the beginning to the end of the tour through the 19th-century building, which houses the only grass courts in the United States regularly open to the public. A new retail store will be added at the tour’s conclusion.

Previously, due to the building’s layout, visitors would start at the plaque gallery and then backtrack through the exhibits to exit.

“We want to be respectful of the historic nature of this building,” said Mindy Ward, who also worked on the plans for the Nashville-based design firm Advent. “Part of our challenge – and one we embraced enthusiastically – was ensuring that our new developments, while fresh and modern, seamlessly complement the historic displays and architecture that we didn’t want to discard.”

This marks the Hall’s first major upgrade since 2015; the plaque gallery had not been updated since 2008. About 30,000 visitors tour the Hall annually, a number it aims to double, with plans to enhance online accessibility for those unable to visit the Narragansett Bay area.

The Hall will close for the renovation, scheduled to begin in November and conclude by May.

Players become eligible for Hall of Fame induction five years after their last significant participation on the ATP or WTA tours. Federer retired in 2021 and Williams a year later, making them eligible for induction in 2026 and 2027.

Serena Williams attends the “In the Arena: Serena Williams” premiere during the Tribeca Festival at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York, U.S., June 13, 2024. (AP Photo)

“The golden era of tennis may be retiring, but it’s upon us,” Hall vice president Julianna Barbieri said. “Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Venus Williams will all become Hall of Famers, and it was time for us to update the current gallery to reflect and modernize the evolution of the sport since 2008.”

President Patrick McEnroe also announced that the organization plans new events following the Hall of Fame Open’s removal from the ATP calendar after this season. The tournament held almost annually in July for nearly 50 years alongside induction ceremonies, saw top players skip due to its timing just after Wimbledon.

Specific details will be announced next month.

“You know the phrase, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life?’” McEnroe said. “Next year is the start of our new era. And it’s going to be fantastic.”

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