Hollywood superstar Ana de Armas has joined tennis legend Jim Courier to present the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup to the packed crowd at Rod Laver Arena ahead of the Australian Open men’s final.
The Cuban-Spanish actress was an unexpected inclusion in the pre-match entertainment, especially compared to Courier, who won the trophy himself twice.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Hollywood star Ana de Armas arrives for Aus Open cameo.
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The pair walked out arm-in-arm and unveiled the iconic Australian trophy out of a custom-made Louis Vuitton trunk.
“Norman’s arrived in style and he’s brought Jim Courier and Ana de Armas along too. What a sparkling trio,” Australian Open wrote on social media.
Courier then took the trophy to the middle of the court, where it stayed while the crowd was treated to a Moulin Rouge musical number as pre-match entertainment, before being sat courtside until the end of the match.
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Of de Armas’s involvement, one tennis fan said: “So random but OK.”
The 35-year-old is filming back-to-back movies in Australia but flew into Melbourne especially for her cameo.
The Norman Brookes Challenge Cup arrives in the Louis Vuitton trophy trunk, as revealed by Jim Courier and Ana de Armas. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
De Armas is starring in one film alongside Jude Law, who took in some tennis at the Brisbane International that took place prior to the Australian Open.
After the presentation de Armas took her seat inside Rod Laver Arena alongside several Australian celebrities.
Aussie actor Eric Bana, supermodel Elle Macpherson, actresses Rachel Griffiths and Deborra-Lee Furness, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and world champion boxer Jeff Fenech all watched on in Melbourne.
The inclusion of de Armas to present the cup was well received by most, but the same can’t be said for the box from which it was revealed.
Ana de Armas stuck around to watch the final. Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Certainly not for the previous night’s equivalent anyway, when the women’s final saw the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup unveiled from its own branded container.
The cup, which is widely considered one of the best trophies on tour, was awarded to Aryna Sabalenka for the second straight year.
Joel Edgerton and Aussie legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley presented the trophy prior to the final, before it was moved courtside until Sabalenka claimed rights to it.
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The trophy sitting next to its fancy trunk. Credit: Getty Images
Prominent tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg slammed the move.
“God this Louis Vuitton trophy box is so tacky and unnecessary. Daphne is gorgeous on her own, the best trophy in tennis. Let her be!” he wrote.
Plenty of fans agreed with the sentiment as well.
“I say it every year but the Aussie Open organisers can learn a lot from Wimbledon. So much of the presentation is about the sponsors, too many speakers. It’s very tacky, just make it about the players, end of story,” one fan said.
After receiving the trophy, Sabalenka delivered some comedy gold when she thanked her team.
“To my team, wow,” she says.
“I put a bit of pressure on them after the Brisbane final and we did a bit better in this one.
“Thank you so much for being by my side, no matter what. I think I have everything. I have forgotten what I wanted to say but without you, I would not be able to achieve so much in this sport.
“Thank you for everything you are doing for me. I will keep repeating the same thing, thank you for everything you have done for me.
“But without me, you would not be that good as well. Let’s accept that.”
– With Ben Sutton