As we made our way to the idyllic setting of Stoke Park this morning, there was one thing on everyone’s mind and that was: rain, rain, go away.
The Boodles at Stoke Park is one of the ‘best kept secrets’ in the tennis calendar. Set in the 300 acres of Buckinghamshire countryside, with lakes, gardens and parkland, there aren’t many places better made to entertain and encapsulate the nature of the Great British game of tennis.
Our PlayBrave stand had been set up the day before and the team was ready for a fun, but tiring day of selling the clothes, getting content and footage to post out on social media, as well as enjoying some top-class tennis.
As official sportswear partner of The Boodles 2017, all the tournament officials and stewards to be kitted out in a full PlayBrave outfit (theirs to keep of course!)
There was an air of anticipation and excitement amongst the tournament officials as they started to get ready for the busy day ahead, but many were complimentary of the PlayBrave clothes and truly took their hats off to the quality of the clothing.
At 10 o’clock, we had a coaching session with PlayBrave sponsored Matt Bell, a CCA performance tennis coach. Bell has worn PlayBrave for the last three years and says he’s never experienced another clothing brand like it.
He said: “I’ve had other sponsors, this is a luxury brand, designed by a tennis player for tennis players. They get the cut right, the comfort right and it’s just generally a great brand.”
Amongst the media taking part in the coaching sessions were journalists: Nicholas Tunney (The Bucks Free Press), Oliver Brown (The Telegraph) and James Turner (Sloany Season) with all three saying how much they enjoyed the experience and how much of a difference the PlayBrave garments made.
Turner commented: “I’m loving the tailored shorts and the fitted garments, certainly lots of room to move and play, so it’s great.”
The Bucks Free Press’ Nicholas Tunney echoed Turner’s sentiments by exclaiming: “It’s been a terrific morning and the PlayBrave kit has been superb. It’s quite hot and humid at Stoke Park today and it’s really kept me cool. The material itself is fantastic and certainly something I will recommend to people.”
Thirdly, Oliver Brown, who is the Chief Sports Feature Writer for The Telegraph told us how much he had enjoyed the morning: “Matt’s a very good coach and PlayBrave is very good clothing, I feel almost as bone dry as I did when I started playing, which, I guess, is the intention.”
Once the media clinic had finished, it was time for the what we were all there for – the tennis.
The first tennis games of The Boodles 2017 kicked off in style as NextGen Croatian star Borna Coric and the returning Thanasi Kokkinakis sealed wins before the bad weather hit.
World number 42 Borna Coric notched up the very first victory of The Boodles this year in a straight sets victory over Lithuanian, Ricardas Berenkis.
Following his win, Coric told us how good of a warm up The Boodles is for tennis’ biggest tournament – Wimbledon.
Coric said: “It absolutely acts as a good warm-up. I’ve never been a fan of the grass courts, so I need a couple more matches so I can start playing better and this was exactly what I needed.”
In the other game of the opening day, Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis backed up his Queen’s victory over high ranking Milos Raonic last week as he saw off former world number six Gilles Simon in straight sets (6-4, 6-2.)
Kokkinakis is one of the only players at The Boodles this week ranked outside of the current ATP 100 after making his return from an 18-month injury lay off.
The 21-year-old reiterated Coric’s sentiments that The Boodles is an amazing warm-up for the upcoming Wimbledon.
The Australian was in a buoyant mood following his win and said: “I love it here; all the hard work has been done and they’ve started more matches here. The week before a slam it’s about feeling good, relaxing a little bit but still playing tennis and The Boodles gives you the chance to do that.”
Unfortunately, Benoit Paire vs Denis Shapovalov and Jan-Lennard Struff vs James Ward were cancelled due to rain.
A great first day was called to an early end, but there is still lots of great tennis to be played and here at PlayBrave we are excited to bring you more coverage across the week!
Order of play Wednesday 28th June 2017:
12.30 - Denis Shapovalov (CAN) v Ricardas Berankis (LTU)
14.30 - Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v Gilles Simon (FRA)
followed by - Albert Ramos-Vinolas (ESP) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
followed by (not before 5pm) - Benoit Paire (FRA) v Jan-Lennard Struff (GER)
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