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A Ball Boy Sold Serena's Racket for $500. Now He Regrets It

Racket busted by Williams in 2018 US Open could fetch five figures in auction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2019 9:45 AM CST
Serena Williams' broken racket sits in front of her bench after she slammed it on the court during the women's final of the US Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka on Sept. 8, 2018, in New York.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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(Newser) – Broken sports equipment usually turns up in the garbage, but one busted tennis racket up for auction starting Monday could end up selling for five figures. The racket that Serena Williams threw down onto the court in September 2018 during a US Open final match against Naomi Osaka is up for sale via Goldin Auctions, and while the opening bid is set at just $2,000, founder Ken Goldin thinks it'll bring in at least $10,000, and perhaps as much as $50,000, he tells the New York Times. The incident that led to the racket's untimely demise was Williams' clash with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, which, combined with a playing violation, brought her a $17,000 fine and jump-started a debate over sexism and racism in the tennis industry.

The racket took a nonlinear path to Goldin. Ball boy Justin Arrington-Holmes says he got permission from Williams to keep the racket, though after a home cleaning spree, he sold it over the summer to a New York City collectibles shop for $500; a worker from that store said they subsequently sold it. "I wish I'd had someone help me with the process," Holmes says after finding out how much the racket might go for now. This isn't the only Williams' racket that's seen auction action: Forbes notes one she smashed in 2005's Wimbledon was put up for sale last month by Nate D. Sanders Auctions; there were no bids, but it's still listed on the site for $10,000. As for this auction, Holmes won't see any of the money, but he hopes the seller donates something to charity or a youth tennis group. "I just hope they are looking out for the greater good," he tells the Times. The auction ends Dec. 7. (Read more Serena Williams stories.)

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