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John McEnroe's smashed racquet could earn schoolboy 15k pounds

April 1, 2012 - London

A schoolboy could fetch up to 15,000 pounds for a racquet smashed by tennis hothead John McEnroe at Wimbledon 30 years back.

Sam Matthews' mum Linda was given the broken racquet by the tennis ace more than three decades ago when she rented a flat to him, the Mirror reported.

Seven years ago Matthews, then 10, took it along to a special children's version of the BBC's 'Antiques Roadshow'.

At the time there was no proof the racquet had been owned by McEnroe. But when 'Roadshow' returned to film at Wimbledon for an episode, presenter Fiona Bruce tracked down Matthews and showed his racquet to the American ace to verify if it was his.

McEnroe, 51, agreed and signed the item for Matthews.

"That was definitely a racquet I played with," the former tennis star said.

"I know this is hard to believe but there were times when I got a little upset out there!" he added.

Matthews, now 17, was startled to learn his racquet is an antique worth a five-figure sum.

"My mum ran a block of flats where McEnroe used to stay," he said

"She got to know him well and even helped sew the sponsorship badges on his shirts.

"When he left, McEnroe handed this broken racquet to her along with an unbroken one and some other memorabilia as a sort of thank-you," he added.

'Antiques Roadshow' expert Jon Baddeley said that it was one of the very last wooden frame racquets, and can be dated quite closely to one McEnroe would have used right up to 1981.


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