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Serena’s ball boy’s hopes smashed

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Williams was fined $17000 for the violations.

A tennis racquet Serena Williams smashed in an argument with the chair umpire before her loss in the 2018 US Open tennis tournament to Naomi Osaka in New York has sold at auction for $20910 (about R316000), after the naïve young owner parted with it for a mere $500.

Williams earned a championship violation when she pulverised the racquet on the court because the umpire ruled she had received illegal coaching from the stands – which gave her a second violation. She then incurred a third for verbal abuse when she called the umpire a “thief”.

After her loss, Williams gave the smashed racquet to a ball boy, Justin Arrington-Holmes, who after a year or so decided to sell it to a New York collectables store that paid him $500 for it. Eventually it ended up for auction by Goldin Auctions.

Medical student Arrington-Holmes said he now bitterly regrets selling the racquet so cheaply. “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.”

As a student, he said, obtaining some spare spending money was all he was thinking about. “Fault” – one can almost hear life’s umpire call. 

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