Lot # 2: Rafael Nadal’s 2019 French Open “What The” Match Worn Shoes - Tournament Champion

Category: Rafael Nadal

Starting Bid: $5,000.00

Bids: 14 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "2024 Legends Auction",
which ran from 5/14/2024 4:00 PM to
6/2/2024 10:30 PM

Rafael Nadal has had some memorable outfits and sneakers during his Grand Slam runs. But these might be the most notable sneakers Nadal wore in his entire career. Leading up to the 2019 French Open, Nadal had already won an astounding 11 French Open titles. For the 2019 edition, Nike decided to commemorate this by creating a special version of his signature retail shoes, known as the NikeCourt Cage 3 Glove "What The."

 The "Nike What The" series are among the most coveted sneakers Nike has created. The What The theme entails combining many elements from a line into a single shoe. Limited edition retail releases, such as the "What The Dunk," and "What The LeBron" have caused frenzies among fans. Desperation and chaos to obtain these pairs from Nike culminated in these sneakers later selling for tens of thousands of dollars (Nike's original retail price was $120!). So when Nike released the limited edition "What The Nadal" Cage 3 Glove in 2019, it was no surprise that they sold out almost immediately. But the presented sneakers aren't just a pair of the sold out retail editions. This is Nadal's actual match worn pair, worn on the Roland Garros clay of 2019, where he would win his 12th title. His pair is completely different from the retail edition, with a detached tongue design, velcro zipper shroud, and an overall different construction. Nods to previous designs of Nadal's winning sneakers are present throughout the shoe, and ultimately this became became a winning design itself. Speaking about the special sneakers, Nadal said "It's an emotional shoe. The details on the shoe have a small piece of history from every Roland Garros I've won so it's a special one. I'm super happy to wear it and think Nike did a great job." 

Capping off this commemoration to his dominance, Nadal won the 2019 French Open wearing this design. Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in the final to win his 12th French Open title, and 18th Grand Slam overall. He also defeated Roger Federer in the semifinal, which was his last ever victory in their iconic rivalry. 

The sneakers are accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity from the Fundación Rafa Nadal. A visual photomatch was also potentially found to an image from his match against David Goffin. These shoes are Nike's ultimate commemoration to Nadal's legendary Roland Garros career, and Nadal filled them well by winning Roland Garros for the 12th time.

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