Like many of you, I have a ‘Most Wanted’ List of Smurfs that appears to never shrink in size but to only grow in size. The one piece mould Tennis Player was one of the early ones added to the list and still remains to be found.
The Tennis Player was first made in 1979 by Schleich. In the beginning it was produced as a one piece mould with an orangey red tennis racquet with a yellow tennis ball attached. It is also the one that is shown in the Schleich catalogue between 1979 to 1984. Though I don’t believe it was ever made this long as otherwise there would be hundreds of these out there.
Typically you will find the Tennis Player with a red plastic removable racquet. Due to the popularity it was made in W.Germany, Portugal, Hong Kong and also in China. Tennis Player was produced between 1979 to 2000.
BP Australia also sold Tennis Player in 1980. It is unclear exactly when it was sold but it can be found on Collecting Smurfs is Smurfy poster that appeared in the TV Week in June 1980. Tennis Player was also sold in New Zealand by BP.
Over the years, I have seen the Tennis Player with different coloured shirts and shorts. Now I am no expert but I don’t believe these were actually produced like this and are genuine. The coloured shirts definetly adds colour to the Smurf but the price tag also associated with them is just crazy. Beware of ‘rare’ coloured variations!
This also brings me to the coloured variations that can be found with the tennis racquet. From my understanding the Tennis Player was only sold with a red plastic tennis racquet. The racquet produced by Schleich has smaller holes compared to the Bully ones with larger holes. So if you happen to find a Tennis Player with a yellow, white or some other coloured tennis racquet, it is more than likely this is from another Bully figurine.
Tennis Player can also be complemented when on display with two other tennis themed Smurfs. Tennis Player #20093 produced by Bully and Tennis Smurfette #20135 produced by Schleich.
Keep on Smurfin