Have you ever considered how a tennis grand slam winner actually gets their trophy back home?
Jannik Sinner has answered that question for one fan at Dubai Airport who couldn’t help but notice the massive piece of carry-on luggage the 2024 Australian Open champion had with him.
Sinner beat Daniil Medvedev in five thrilling sets to claim his maiden grand slam title, etching his name onto the famous Norman Brookes Challenge Cup forever.
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Of course, the winner of the men’s final doesn’t take home Norm itself — nor does the winner of the women’s singles take home the original Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
But they do take home exact replicas, and they’ve got to get it back to their native countries somehow. That part is up to the players.
Sinner held it with him in what appears to be a cloth material bag, as picked up by a fan who nearly fell over when she saw the Italian “casually” carrying it around Dubai Airport, presumably before a connection flight back to Italy.
“Things that weren’t on my 2024 bingo card: meeting Jannik Sinner in Dubai Airport security as we both sorted out our hand luggage,” Katie Bevan wrote on social media.
“His carry-on bag being the actual Australian Open trophy (!) made the electronics and liquids in my tray look very unimpressive.”
Sharing Katie’s post, tennis writer Scott Barclay said: “Jannik Sinner casually carrying around the Australian Open trophy like you or I would carry around our laundry bag is top tier badassery”.
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Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner smiles while clinching his trophy wrapped in a green sac as he arrives at the Leonardo da Vinci airport in Fiumicino, Italy. Credit: Cecilia Fabiano/AP
The 22-year-old returned to Italy amid great fanfare, with RAI state TV broadcasting his arrival before he was whisked to a private meeting with Premier Giorgia Meloni.
“Grandissimo,” Meloni said when Sinner walked into her office in the Chigi Palace.
“I want to show you something,” Meloni then said, before turning on a replay of match point from Sinner’s victory in Sunday’s final, during which the Italian rallied from two sets down.
“It’s nice to experience it after the fact,” Sinner said.
Sinner and Meloni posed for photos as they held aloft together first the Australian Open trophy and then the Italian flag. Sinner then gave Meloni a warm embrace to end the meeting.
Sinner had arrived at Rome’s airport also holding the same green bag with gold-coloured straps that he had in Dubai, which could only have contained his Australian Open trophy.
Pope Francis congratulated Sinner on his win. Credit: Alessandra Tarantino/AP
On Monday, Pope Francis congratulated Italy for Sinner’s victory.
Sinner is the first Italian man to win a grand slam singles title in nearly a half century — since Adriano Panatta won the French Open trophy in 1976.
In November, Sinner also led Italy to their first Davis Cup title since 1976.
Sinner will hold a news conference with Italian Tennis and Padel Federation president Angelo Binaghi on Wednesday. He and his Davis Cup teammates are scheduled to be honoured by Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Thursday.
– With AAP