Serena Williams' broken racket from 2018 US Open final to be auctioned

The racket is one of 1,600 sports memorabilia to be auctioned at until December this year.

Raging demand | The Wilson Blade racket will open with a price tag of $2,000.   -  AFP

History remembers the US Open final from 2018 more for the drama than the tennis - when Serena Williams' infamous meltdown stole the thunder from Naomi Osaka's historic win at the Flushing Meadows.

Williams' broke her racket during the second set of the match against Osaka. This very racket is all set to go up on sale on Monday, according to a report by The New York Times. In a sports memorabilia event organised by Goldin Auctions, the Wilson Blade racket will open with a price tag of $2,000 with the price expected to reach five figures by the time the event closes on December 7.

“I think the low end would be $10,000, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes to $25,000 or $50,000,”  Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions explained.

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Having lost the first set 6-2, Williams' second set did not start well. She received a code violation for illegal coaching, a decision she disputed. Soon after, a squandered advantage saw Williams smashing her racket to the ground, eventually earning a second code violation and therefore a point deduction.

The resulting decision dispute saw Williams call the chair umpire a "liar" and a "thief".

Osaka kept her calm to eventually take the final 6-2, 6-4, clinching her first Grand Slam title in the process. She also became Japan's first Grand Slam singles champion.

The racket made its way to the Goldin vault thanks to Justin Arrington-Holmes, a US Open ball boy. Arrington-Holmes claims that Williams initially put down the racket but turned around and handed it to him soon after.

He sold the racket to Brigandi Coins and Collectibles in Manhattan for $500 after providing a letter to authenticate the racket. The letter said that Williams 'gifted' him the racket during their post-match conversation. From Brigandi, the racket has made its way to Goldin.

The auction house does not reach out to athletes to verify authenticity of an item as players don't always react positively to the sale of items that once belonged to them. Additionally, with 1,600 items to account for in this auction, it would be a logistical nightmare for Goldin. Along with the letter, the auction house has hired a company that uses high-resolution photo matching to crosscheck the racket's authenticity.

The 22-year-old learnt of the racket's value when NYT reached out to him ahead of the auction, shocked to discover the price bracket it is expected to go at. He hopes a portion of the money the racket earns is dedicated to charity.

You can place your bid for the racket here.

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