Racket Serena Williams smashed at U.S. Open goes up for auction

Racket Serena Williams smashed on the ground during the 2018 U.S. Open finals while screaming at umpires is set to fetch as much as $50,000 at auction

  • The tennis racket that was famously smashed by Serena Williams during an on-court tirade at the 2018 U.S. Open women’s final is set to go up for auction
  • The starting bid is $2,000 but one expert estimated it could go for $50,000
  • That figure exceeds the $17,000 in fines Williams incurred during her dramatic loss to Naomi Osaka in September of 2018 at Arthur Ashe Stadium
  • Williams was fined  $10,000 for ‘verbal abuse’ of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for receiving improper coaching, and $3,000 for breaking the racket
  • Ramos warned Williams for getting coaching, which is against the rules in Grand Slam matches. Later Williams received a warning for smashing the racket
  • The racket was gifted to a ball boy by Williams before being sold to a memorabilia store and later to an anonymous buyer who put it up for auction

The tennis racket that was famously smashed by Serena Williams during an on-court argument with umpires at the 2018 U.S. Open women’s final is set to go up for auction, and could fetch as much as $50,000.

According to The New York Times, the Wilson racket was obtained by a ball boy, who was told by Williams that he could have it following the match. That ball boy, Justin Arrington-Holmes, reportedly sold it to a memorabilia store for $500 before an anonymous buyer purchased the item and put it up for auction.

The opening bid is slated at $2,000, but it is expected to garner a higher sum.

‘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, the founder of Goldin Auctions, told The New York Times.


The tennis racket that was famously smashed by Serena Williams during an on-court argument with umpires at the 2018 U.S. Open women’s final is set to go up for auction, and could fetch as much as $50,000. The opening bid is slated at $2,000, but it is expected to garner much more 

Williams smashed the Wilson racket during a difficult stretch of the 2018 U.S. Open final 

A day after the match, the tournament referee’s office docked Williams $10,000 for ‘verbal abuse’ of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for receiving improper guidance from her coach in the stands, and $3,000 for breaking the racket. In the second set’s second game, Ramos warned Williams for getting coaching, which is against the rules in Grand Slam matches. She briefly disputed that ruling, saying cheating ‘is the one thing I’ve never done, ever’ — although afterward, coach Patrick Mouratoglou, acknowledged he was trying to send Williams a signal

According to The New York Times, the Wilson racket was obtained by a ball boy, who was told by Williams that he could have it following the match. That ball boy, Justin Arrington-Holmes (left), reportedly sold it to a memorabilia store for $500 before an anonymous buyer purchased the item and put it up for auction.

That figure exceeds the $17,000 in fines Williams incurred during her dramatic loss to Naomi Osaka in September of 2018 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

A day after the match, the tournament referee’s office docked Williams $10,000 for ‘verbal abuse’ of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for receiving improper guidance from her coach in the stands, and $3,000 for breaking the racket.

In the second set’s second game, Ramos warned Williams for getting coaching, which is against the rules in Grand Slam matches. She briefly disputed that ruling, saying cheating ‘is the one thing I’ve never done, ever’ — although afterward, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, acknowledged he was trying to send Williams a signal.

A few games later, Williams received another warning, this time for smashing her racket, and that second violation automatically cost her a point, leading to more arguing. Eventually, Williams called Ramos ‘a thief,’ drawing the third violation for ‘verbal abuse’ — and costing her a game, putting Osaka ahead 5-3.

Arrington-Holmes, the veteran ball boy who obtained the racket, told the Times that Williams gave him permission to keep it

‘I have never cheated in my life!’ Williams told Ramos. ‘You owe me an apology.’

Under Article III, Section P of the Grand Slam Rule Book, ‘verbal abuse’ is defined as ‘a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive.’ The section says a player is subject to a fine up to $20,000 for each violation.

There are separate categories for coaching (‘Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching’) and for abuse of rackets or equipment.

The racket is one of many historically significant items in the December 7 auction, which also includes Jesse Owens’s Olympic gold medals that are expected to go for at least six figures.

Arrington-Holmes, the veteran ball boy who obtained the racket, told the Times that Williams gave him permission to keep it.

‘A lot of players are nice, but some, like Serena and Venus, care a little more and say hello and make an effort to learn your name and create a relationship,’ said Arrington-Holmes, a 22-year-old student at Boston College.

Arrington-Holmes admittedly could have demanded more money for the racket.

‘Looking back I wish I’d had someone help me with the process,’ he said. ‘I was not familiar with how any of this works. I just wanted to get rid of it.’ 

Williams smashed the racket on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, Queens 

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