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Signature Series Barnstormers

Tennis Channel's Signature Series Barnstormers.

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Barnstormers: Jack Kramer
Barnstomers: Pancho Gonzales
Signature Series Barnstormers

Following World War II, long before the Open Era, the tennis world’s brightest stars and future Hall of Famers took to the road and blazed a trail across the globe, redefining the great game as we know it. Embracing enormous risks, these brave and daring tennis rebels fought the tennis establishment, founding what became modern professional tennis. How they did it is an unbelievable tale of adventure, camaraderie and bravery, played out town-by-town across the country and the world. They are the Barnstromers.

For the first time ever, Tennis Channel will reveal the story of “Barnstormers: The Birth of Professional Tennis.” Audiences will thrill to the little-known adventures of the young men and women who, at a time when major tournaments were for amateurs only, played anywhere and everywhere. They barely scraped out a living, and along the way planted the seeds of today’s professional circuit:

  • Legendary stars like Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Butch Buchholz and many more…
  • Shunned and ridiculed by the tennis establishment and shut out from major tournaments
  • Sleeping in cars and racing hundreds of miles through the night from one town to the next
  • Playing an incredible five matches a week and fifty matches every few months, often just to break even
  • Competing with the world’s best, everywhere from ice hockey rinks and opera houses to town halls and tiny auditoriums

Written by award-winning sportswriter Jon Wertheim, executive editor of Sports Illustrated, and narrated by legendary actor Robert Redford “Barnstormers” will be told firsthand by the icons who stormed their way into the hearts and imaginations of America, and vividly reveals the struggles, determination and heroism of these pioneering athletes. Audiences will share the untold moments of hilarity and heartbreak, and witness the incredible and unwavering spirit of professional competition that ultimately gave birth to tennis’ modern Open Era.

90 minute Signature Series documentary,  Written by Jon Wertheim, Executive Editor of Sports Illustrated and Narrated by Robert Redford. Premiering June 2 immediately following live play from Roland Garros with an encore presentation September 2 also followirng live play.

Australian Tennis Museum Gallery