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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards Review And Checklist

topps chrome tennis

Seems a bit late in the game for a 2021 release. But tennis fans have long been starved of significant card releases. Therefore, they will be glad that Topps has served this up (ok, last terrible tennis pun. I promise). Better late than never, etc.

This is the first Topps Chrome release for the sport. However, we are almost sure it will not be the last. Fanatics have invested a good deal of money and effort into their new line of tennis cards. But has it been worth it?

The 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards Review and Checklist are here to let you know!

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis release date

2021 Topps Chrome Tennis has already dropped. It came out on May 19, 2023. There are no plans, as of now, to release it as a retail product. So, as of now, this is the only date for release. That day saw both the regular hobby box and the LITE version gasping into our brutal world.

Of course, we cannot do an overview of 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis without wondering why the product is coming out two years late. We will touch on that in the history section.

History of 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards

Topps has long been one of the biggest card companies in the world. Meanwhile, tennis is one of the top five sports in the world. So, you would expect there to be a long history of Topps tennis cards. But that just isn’t the case.

The big card companies have long neglected tennis. Instead, a series of smaller companies like Netpro, Ace, and Leaf have dominated that side of the hobby over the last twenty years.

However, Topps is not wholly alien to the tennis card world. In 2019, the company released a beloved series commemorating the Tennis Hall of Fame inductees.

The 2019 Topps Tennis Hall of Fame release included cards for 48 institution members. There are currently 262 legends enshrined in Newport, Rhode Island. The following year, the company released the 2020 Topps Transcendent Collection Tennis Hall of Fame. Again, it was reasonably priced at a mere $12,000.

In 2021, Topps announced that it would release its first Chrome Tennis release. Tennis collectors were ecstatic that they would finally enjoy a major company release. But Topps ran into some severe problems. Unlike baseball or other major American team sports, tennis players are individuals with their representation.

Player unions are far less powerful. Therefore, Topps found themselves bogged down in negotiations. The Fanatics’ purchase of Topps also slowed the process down. After all, they had a lot on their to-do list, and tennis wasn’t near the top.

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards release formats

As it stands, 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis is a hobby-only release. I assume Topps and Fanatics want to see how popular this release may become before authorizing retail versions. Therefore, we will keep an eye out for 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Card blasters and fat packs.

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Hobby Box

2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Hobby Box LITE

The pros of 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis

The design. And again. The design. The 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis cards look absolutely superb. They look timeless yet up-to-date and are clearly within the classic Topps Chrome tradition.

My guess is these cards will be iconic to tennis fans, as having an inaugural release with this much aesthetic oomph is an excellent boon to long-term desirability.

The prices for the release are pretty competitive. You could do much worse at $179 for a Topps Chrome release. Like many of the more “premium sports” (think F-1, for example), tennis cards can be outrageously expensive.

So, to see these boxes priced at the level of their baseball equivalents is a welcome surprise. The LITE hobby boxes are exceptionally inexpensive. Therefore, we give kudos to Fanatics for the pricing.

We hope this isn’t one of those cases where the manufacturer tries to lure people in with low prices and then raises them as soon as possible.

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Cons of 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards

The main problem with this release is how late it is. We know Topps promised this product, and fans patiently awaited its release. Just look at this thread on Blowout Forums, which has been active for a year and a half. But considering it is well into 2023, wouldn’t it have been better to change the name and improve the checklist?

Collectors are also complaining that boxes are pretty weak. The big cards seem to be pretty darn scarce. Take a look at some of the rips on YouTube. Obviously, this is anecdotal evidence, but 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards are not getting a good reputation for the strength of their product.

Finally, the checklist is not optimal. It includes far too many retired Hall of Famers in the base checklist. And not the ones that most casual fans would like. I get going for some deep cuts.

But why are there no base cards or autos for all-time greats like Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, Boris Becker, Serena Williams, and Novak Djokovic? This will put off casual fans from the product.

My guess is these are licensing issues rather than a conscious attempt to snub all the big names. But hopefully, Topps will solve it before future releases come down the line.

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis checklist

The 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis release includes a base card checklist of 100 cards. But no one can quite figure out how they determined this list, which does not have many of the most significant current stars and none of the most beloved retired and veteran legends. Therefore, we can’t really help but give the checklist a severe thumbs down.

If you expected salvation to come from the auto list, unfortunately, it isn’t much better. The absence of pretty much every big name you can imagine is even more questionable when you realize that Topps has partnered with the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHF) for this release.

The good news is that the 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis refractors are absolutely gorgeous. We especially love the Clay Court Refractor (1:9 packs) and Blue Refractor (#/99), which only come in hobby boxes. But you won’t lose out if you buy the Lite version.

Lite buyers will get plenty of Black & White Mini Diamond Refractors (1:4 packs) and Blue RayWave Refractors /99. But of course, great refractors of players that no one particularly wants aren’t necessarily what collectors want.

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis inserts

The release has a great design. We have already established that. But does 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis also have inserts to match? Let’s take a look at the lineup.

Aces (1:6 packs)

An insert with best serves using the ace card as a background is so noticeable for a tennis release that Topps would have been negligent if they hadn’t included this.

But, of course, there are different ways of doing this, and the design is classy and appropriate. I love it. The value isn’t much so far. You can get a complete set of these babies for $60 on eBay.

Battle of the Baselines (1:18)

Did you hope this would show the biggest tennis stars in the world playing bass guitar? No? Just me. Fine then. But this is even better.

The Battle of the Baselines inserts shows some of the tremendous historic rivals. It is an absolute delight for historical tennis types, and the images are absolutely spectacular.

Once again, the value isn’t great, with these cards going for about $4 a pop. But they are a bit less common than their Aces counterparts so they could be worth more in the future.

Rings of Honor (1:9 packs)

This insert recognizes some of the biggest names to win Wimbledon. The idea isn’t bad, but out of all the inserts in 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis, this one is the weakest in execution. The value for the Rings of Honor inserts hovers around 3-6$.

2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Cards Review Of The Autographs

As we have said, the 2021 Topps Chrome release has a real problem with the autograph selection. But the auto designs are very attractive. The good news is that the autographs all appear on card, possibly because the print run is not all that high. That adds to the beautiful eye appeal of these autos.

The Chrome Autographs series is /50, which is good news regarding future value. Unfortunately, many of those cards are hobby-only items.

Meanwhile, the Lite-only parallels also have auto versions. Indeed, they can be even better pulls. Unfortunately, you can only get the B&W Mini Diamond Refractor /5 and Blue RayWave Refractor /5 autographs in Lite boxes.

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Topps Chrome 2021 Tennis value

Long-time Cardlines readers know that we usually do a deep dive into the previous value of releases. But, unfortunately, the 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis release is brand new. So, we can’t do too much in terms of comparison. But I will do my best because I know this analysis is of crucial importance to your mental health.

Wax

As we have seen, the 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis prices are not all that high. The Lite boxes go for about $70, and the hobby boxes for about $175. Nevertheless, there is good reason to believe this series will be successful.

There is a massive world of tennis fans out there and a hunger for a large and regular release. Meanwhile, Topps will likely limit print runs in the beginning, which will drive up value.

In addition, the 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis release is inaugural, which is usually good for long-term value. Then, of course, the outstanding design will also help with value.

But unfortunately, the checklist is not the best. But looking at all the factors put together, I guess these boxes will increase in value over the next three or four years.

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Singles

It is early days to determine the value of 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis singles. However, the product has been out for a few days now, and we can look at the recent sales numbers. Here are some of the biggest cards sold on eBay thus far:

2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Hall Of Famer Stefan Edberg Autograph Red Refractor /5$219.50
2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Arthur Fils Auto Refractor /50$172.50
2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Chris Everett Auto Hall of Fame /50$152.50
2021 Topps Chrome Tennis Su-Wei Hsieh Auto Refractor /50$93

I would call the market for 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis a careful one. Collectors are not sure what these cards are worth yet, so they aren’t willing to pay a whole lot. But tennis fans will get used to this release and learn to love it. Then values will go up.

Final word of the 2021 Topps Chrome Tennis release

There is a lot to love about this set. First and foremost, it’s about freaking time we had a significant tennis Chrome release, and it’s delightful to have one.

The design is top-notch, in my opinion, and that already makes the release worthwhile in my book. Having said that, the checklist is so poor that it puts a shadow on the release.

Fans will not be happy to see most of the big names that every casual fan knows missing from this release. Of course, they will probably fix that before Chrome 2022 and 2023 arrive. But that is too late for this release.

Despite all the reservations, I believe the future for Topps Chrome Tennis is bright. The fundamentals are there. Tennis is a massive global game constantly churning out exciting young stars. The most prominent names become household names because it is a solo game (doubles doesn’t count).

And there will be no real competition for this set. The name recognition and excellent designs of Topps Chrome will ensure this product’s long-term popularity and value.

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2021 Topps Chrome Tennis checklist

100 cards. 

REFRACTOR PARALLELS: Base Refractor, B&W Mini-Diamond, Clay Court, Purple #/199, Purple Wave #/199, Aqua #/150, Mini Diamond #/125, Blue #/99, Blue RayWave #/99, Green #/75, Gold #/50, Gold Wave #/50, Orange #/25, Rose Gold #/10, Red #/5, SuperFractor 1/1.

1 Pablo Andújar
2 Tracy Austin
3 Peaches Bartkowicz
4 Nikoloz Basilashvili
5 Aljaž Bedene
6 Jonas Björkman
7 Nick Bollettieri
8 Jennifer Brady
9 Bob Bryan
10 Alexander Bublik
11 Rosie Casals
12 Michael Chang
13 Jim Courier
14 Judy Dalton AM
15 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
16 Alex de Minaur
17 Laslo Ɖere
18 Grigor Dimitrov
19 Misaki Doi
20 Cliff Drysdale
21 Françoise Dürr
22 Stefan Edberg
23 Ken Rosewall
24 Gigi Fernández
25 Richard Gasquet
26 David Goffin
27 David Hall
28 Daniela Hantuchová
29 Martina Hingis
30 Su-Wei Hsieh
31 Ana Ivanović
32 Yevgeny Kafelnikov
33 Monique Kalkman-Van den Bosch
34 Madison Keys
35 Billie Jean King
36 Jan Kodeš
37 Anett Kontaveit
38 Rod Laver
39 Jan-Lennard Struff
40 Ann Li
41 Hana Mandlíková
42 Conchita Martínez
43 Amélie Mauresmo
44 Mackie McDonald
45 Christina McHale
46 Caty McNally
47 Elise Mertens
48 Corentin Moutet
49 John Newcombe
50 Yannick Noah
51 Charles Pasarell
52 Guido Pella
53 Bernarda Pera
54 Kristy Pigeon
55 Karolína Plíšková
56 Nadia Podoroska
57 Pat Rafter
58 Kerry Melville Reid
59 Nancy Richey
60 Pete Sampras
61 Pam Shriver
62 Stan Smith
63 Lorenzo Sonego
64 Michael Stich
65 Helena Suková
66 Frances Tiafoe
67 Martina Trevisan
68 Jiří Veselý
69 Thiago Seyboth Wild
70 Lin Zhu
71 Valerie Ziegenfuss
72 Taylah Preston
73 Mike Bryan
74 Simona Halep
75 Harold Mayot
76 Mitchell Krueger
77 Juan Manuel Cerúndolo
78 Max Purcell
79 Mark Woodforde
80 Margaret Smith Court
81 Arthur Fils
82 Leandro Riedi
83 Katie Volynets
84 Frew McMillan
85 Juan Ignacio Londero
86 Brad Parks
87 Donald Dell
88 Butch Buchholz
89 Gustavo Kuerten
90 Sabine Lisicki
91 Lucie Šafářová
92 Guillermo Cañas
93 Julie Heldman
94 Roy Emerson
95 Francesca Jones
96 Rajeev Ram
97 Virginia Wade
98 Martina Navratilova
99 Chris Evert
100 Coco Gauff

2021 Topps Chrome Autographs Set checklist

90 cards. Serial numbered #/50.

REFRACTOR PARALLELS: Orange #/25, B&W Mini Diamond #/5, Blue RayWave #/5, Red #/5, SuperFractor 1/1

CA-AB Aljaž Bedene
CA-ABB Alexander Bublik
CA-ADF Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
CA-ADM Alex de Minaur
CA-AF Arthur Fils
CA-AIV Ana Ivanović
CA-AKO Anett Kontaveit
CA-AL Ann Li
CA-BBR Bob Bryan
CA-BBU Butch Buchholz
CA-BK Billie Jean King
CA-BP Bernarda Pera
CA-BPK Brad Parks
CA-CD Cliff Drysdale
CA-CE Chris Evert
CA-CG Coco Gauff
CA-CM Christina McHale
CA-CMC Caty McNally
CA-CMR Conchita Martínez
CA-COM Corentin Moutet
CA-CP Charles Pasarell
CA-DD Donald Dell
CA-DG David Goffin
CA-DH David Hall
CA-DHA Daniela Hantuchová
CA-ER Emma Raducanu
CA-FD Françoise Dürr
CA-FJ Francesca Jones
CA-FM Frew McMillan
CA-GD Grigor Dimitrov
CA-GF Gigi Fernández
CA-GK Gustavo Kuerten
CA-GP Guido Pella
CA-HAM Harold Mayot
CA-HMA Hana Mandlíková
CA-HS Helena Suková
CA-JB Jennifer Brady
CA-JCO Jim Courier
CA-JD Judy Dalton AM
CA-JHE Julie Heldman
CA-JIL Juan Ignacio Londero
CA-JK Jan Kodeš
CA-JLS Jan-Lennard Struff
CA-JMC Juan Manuel Cerúndolo
CA-JN John Newcombe
CA-JOB Jonas Björkman
CA-KP Kristy Pigeon
CA-KPL Karolína Plíšková
CA-KR Kerry Melville Reid
CA-KV Katie Volynets
CA-LDJ Laslo Djere
CA-LSF Lucie Šafářová
CA-LSO Lorenzo Sonego
CA-LZ Lin Zhu
CA-MB Mike Bryan
CA-MC Michael Chang
CA-MD Misaki Doi
CA-MH Martina Hingis
CA-MK Madison Keys
CA-MKR Mitchell Krueger
CA-MKV Monique Kalkman-Van den Bosch
CA-MMC Mackie McDonald
CA-MN Martina Navratilova
CA-MS Michael Stich
CA-MSC Margaret Smith Court
CA-MTR Martina Trevisan
CA-MW Mark Woodforde
CA-MXP Max Purcell
CA-NB Nick Bollettieri
CA-NBA Nikoloz Basilashvili
CA-NR Nancy Richey
CA-PA Pablo Andújar
CA-PB Peaches Bartkowicz
CA-PR Pat Rafter
CA-PS Pam Shriver
CA-PSA Pete Sampras
CA-RC Rosie Casals
CA-RE Roy Emerson
CA-RG Richard Gasquet
CA-RL Rod Laver
CA-RR Rajeev Ram
CA-SE Stefan Edberg
CA-SH Simona Halep
CA-SL Sabine Lisicki
CA-SS Stan Smith
CA-SWH Su-Wei Hsieh
CA-TA Tracy Austin
CA-TP Taylah Preston
CA-VW Virginia Wade
CA-VZ Valerie Ziegenfuss

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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