Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/3/2023

Since the early 2000s, professional tennis has enjoyed a generation of tennis superstardom that will never be topped. On the men’s side, the three-headed monster of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic has dominated for two decades and delivered the most sensational individual battles in the sport’s 100+ year history. Now that the dust has settled with Federer retired and Nadal’s career nearly over due to injuries, there really is no more debating the G.O.A.T. With 24 major titles and counting, the title clearly belongs to "The Djoker” from Serbia.

Presented here is the first photo-matched Novak Djokovic Major Championship racquet ever to come to auction. His monumental 2016 French Open title was his first at Roland Garros and his 12th major overall. More importantly, it completed the Career Grand Slam, and this is the racquet he used in multiple 2016 French Open matches – including the Semifinal and Final! – to become just the eighth men’s player to achieve this rare feat. It also capped an unprecedented 12-month stretch from July 2015 through June 2016 in which Djokovic won four consecutive majors to hold a Tiger-esque "calendar year" grand slam – the first to accomplish this since Rod Laver in 1969. Fast forward to the present and Djoker is now the only man to have claimed at least three titles at each major. Still going strong at age 36, he stands two majors ahead of Nadal and four clear of Federer. The question is not if but when Novak will secure number 25 to stand alone among men and women – Margaret Court also has 24 – as the all-time leader in major championship victories.

The story behind this special piece of tennis history is fascinating. Our consignor, Abby (Hancock) Doherty, then in college, traveled to Paris with her family to attend the 2016 French Open through a hospitality program run by International Tennis Tours. Together, they saw several matches and were on hand for the Men’s Singles Final at Stade Roland Garros center court [Court A] on June 5, 2016. Ranked #1 in the world and the top seed in the tournament, Djokovic battled second-seeded Andy Murray in a thrilling four-set Final match that saw Novak drop the first set (3-6) before reeling off three straight sets (6-1, 6-2, and 6-4) to win the only championship that had eluded him.

After a tense 19-shot rally at match point, Murray hit a backhand into the net to seal the historic Career and Calendar Grand Slam combo title for Djokovic. A prolonged celebration on the famous clay court ensued in which Novak fell backward in ecstasy. He lay on his back to soak in the moment before warmly greeting Murray at the net. Djoker then used this very racquet to draw a large heart on the clay surface showing his appreciation for the fans before launching it into the Roland Garros crowd. Abby, sitting in the perfect location, reached up and was able to corral it amid a chaotic clump of exhuberant spectators. After struggling to secure it, her father snapped a photo of his smiling daughter holding up her prize “catch”. She attempted to get Novak to sign it before he left centre court, but she couldn't get his attention among all the fans begging for autograph. https://www.sportscollectorsdaily.com/fan-who-caught-djokovics-racquet-after-2016-french-open-win-selling-it-at-scp-auctions/

As if this seal-proof, direct source provenance was not enough, the racquet has been conclusively photo-matched to the 2016 French Open Final by both Resolution Photomatching and Sports Investors. Each company also confirmed photo-matches to Novak’s Semifinal victory over Austria’s Dominic Thiem. ResMatch found evidence of likely/possible use in a few earlier 2016 French Open matches as well.

Since 2009, Djokovic has endorsed and used HEAD Speed racquets on tour. This HEAD Speed model from the 2016 season is the Graphene Touch PT113B with a custom 18x20 (vertical by horizontal) string pattern. “Novak” is labeled within the throat across from a manually affixed “SUN 27.0” white sticker that appears in match images. The butt underneath the handle is properly sized “4-3/8”. Novak is very particular about his racquets, in this case placing two gray strips of lead tape along the inner frame beam to achieve his desired weight on the racquet head. His custom grip on the handle is double-wrapped over Calfskin leather, creating side bevels to make it more rectangular. In addition, he uses a unique natural gut material for his vertical strings; each racquet is strung at such high tension that the vertical gut strings tend to break on their own just a few months after use.

The racquet exhibits outstanding evidence of French Open match use with scratch marks and clay court scraping on the beam – unique attributes that led to multiple photo-matches. The grip is pinkish in color from a combination of clay and sweat rubbing off from Novak’s hands. Apart from a few broken vertical strings, all elements are as-issued and problem-free. We have posted images of the consignor holding the racquet right after catching it as well as a still-shot from a now unviewable NBC Sports video showing the thrown racquet reaching her hands. Getty images 538265512 and 538271560 show the moment Djokovic tossed it into the crowd. Digital copies of the consignor’s ticket to the 2016 French Open Final and a witness letter from Steve Furgal, President of International Tennis Tours are also uploaded. Full photo-matched paperwork from Sports Investors Authentication and Resolution Photomatching is included.

It should be noted that the only other Major Championship photo-matched racquet of The Big Three (Fed, Rafa & Djoker) previously auctioned was Nadal’s 2021 Australian Open Final racquet that sold for $140,000 in February 2023.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $107,482
Number Bids:23
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
 I Have One To Sell