The Australian Open trophies went into familiar tournament mode when they arrived in Beijing as part of the International Trophy Tour.
But instead of them being on hand to be presented to the winners of the Australian Open, they were on display at the China Open, one of the tour’s biggest events outside of the Grand Slams and featuring a star-studded line-up of tennis talent.
“Daphne” and “Norm” wowed guests in a VIP skybox at the China Open’s Diamond Court, the spectacular 15,000 seat circular arena serving as the tournament’s glittering centre court. With this skybox fitted out with images from the Australian Open, the trophies must have felt like they’d never left Melbourne Park.
But indeed they had, and had traversed several thousand kilometres to get to this point. After beginning in Seoul, Korea, the trophies spent four action-packed days in Singapore before arriving in the Chinese capital.
The Australian Open trophies spent plenty of time hob-nobbing at the China Open; they were on display for two days at the prestigious event, including finals day, on which Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams claimed the men’s and women’s titles.
A day earlier in among the semifinal action, Daphne and Norm even ventured out onto the Diamond Court, part of a presentation in which six of China’s best ball kids were selected to join the Australian Open 2014 squad at Melbourne Park.
The top two ball kids from Australian Open 2013, Olivia O’Meara and Dylan Colaci, carried the trophies onto the court as part of the ceremony, and spend several days working at the China Open as ball kids, enjoying the chance to work with their Chinese contemporaries and experience the atmosphere of another international event.
The trophies got out to see more of Beijing after their time at the China Open, stopping in for a Lacoste store visit.
As Lacoste is an Australian Open sponsor, this was one of several visits to their stores around Asia during the International Trophy Tour; Lacoste is also running a competition that sees customers who spend more than $150 in their stores go into a draw to win Australian Open finals tickets.
Then Daphne took a solo trip, teaming up with Chinese tennis superstar Li Na in Beijing for the announcement of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off, to be staged in Shenzhen, China in November.
Next stop: Shanghai.