Thousands of fans turned out to see the Australian Open trophies in southern China recently as the Australian Open International Trophy Tour continued on its route through Asia.
The thriving Cantonese cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, developing something of a tennis culture now that they play host to WTA events each year, welcomed “Daphne” and “Norm” with open arms and lavish public events.
In Guangzhou, the trophies’ visit was accompanied by a performance by Chinese Idol winner Sean Sean. A packed crowd enjoyed the opportunity to have their photos taken with the iconic silver cups and try their hand at MLC Tennis Hot Shots.
This event formed just a part of a busy schedule for Daphne and Norm; the trophies also appeared on Guangdong TV for a segment promoting the upcoming Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off in Shenzhen in November, and took part in photo shoots in Yuexiu Park and at the city’s Folk Art Museum.
Then they were off to Shenzhen, and it was time for more musical numbers; this time, the entertainment was provided by emerging Chinese artist Super Boy.
Super Boy, donning a coral-coloured chiffon suit and big hair for his performance, was honoured by getting the chance to hold the trophies, and even told the crowd that he was inspired to take up tennis.
The same seemed to go for the fans at the Shenzhen event; hundreds of children relished the chance to play MLC Tennis Hot Shots, hitting with their families and even crying when they were told it was time to put down their racquets and head home.
In addition to these special events, Daphne and Norm undertook their usual Lacoste store displays – with Lacoste being the official outfitter of the Australian Open – and attended official dinners featuring full Chinese banquets.
Next stop: Hong Kong.