One of the rackets that Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer used during the 2011 French Open in Paris has been sold for a record price at an online auction. Federer's racket is now the most expensive male player's racket of all time.
Roger Federer had used the racket in the 2011 French Open final, where he was defeated by Rafael Nadal in four sets 7–5, 7–6, 5–7, 6–1. That was Nadal's sixth French Open title at the time; since then, he has gone to win the tournament on seven more occasions.
Federer's racket was auctioned for $55,000 (£42,000 / €46,000) at the online Goldin Auctions sale.
The Goldin Auctions website described the racket as "an incredible piece of tennis history, a red and white Wilson Six One tour tennis racquet that was signed in black Sharpie by Roger Federer and comes with exceptional provenance, Federer’s Agent Anthony L. Godsick from IMG attributing the racquet to use by Federer during this historic French Open finale."
The racquet also bears the signature of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Roger Federer's 2011 French Open racket beats the record held by Fred Perry's 1934 racket
The previous record for the auction of a racket used by a male tennis player was the wooden Slazenger racket that British tennis champion Fred Perry used when he played the 1934 Wimbledon final. Perry had defeated the defending champion Jack Crawford in the final 6–3, 6–0, 7–5 to win the Wimbledon men's singles title in 1934, and that racket had been auctioned off for $32,000 in 2007.
Perry's 1934 racket is currently listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most expensive racket ever.
While the Roger Federer racket now holds the record when it comes to a male tennis player, the overall record for a racket auctioned off is $125,000 (£95,000/€105,000). That occurred two years ago for the racket used by tennis legend Billie Jean King to defeat Bobby Riggs in the historic Battle of the Sexes match in 1973.
That match between the 55-year-old Bobby Riggs and the 29-year-old Billie Jean King was viewed by nearly 50 million people in the United States and 90 million worldwide. It is widely considered to be a watershed moment in women's tennis and all of women's sports.