What an amazing week! Unfortunately, ‘The Boodles’ 2017 is officially over and we have another 365 days to wait until the next one.
Surrounded by the luxurious setting of Stoke Park in Buckinghamshire, some of the Britain’s most affluent people rubbed shoulders with some of the best tennis players in the world.
Throughout the week, there were some great match-ups including Juan Martin del Potro vs Gilles Simon, Nick Kyrgios against Viktor Troicki and Alexander Zverev facing Thanassi Kokkinakis.
With The Boodles being one of the main warm-up events for Wimbledon this week it was a chance for some of the players taking part to get in some good practice on some of the best grass courts around.
World number 20, Nick Kyrgios was especially complimentary of the exhibition event, the Australian said:
“I prefer to play this to a normal tournament, I can have more fun here. I can control it a bit better, I played Phillipp (Kohlschreiber) today and he’s a great competitor, he’s been around for a long time. I know the quality of players here is going to be as good as anywhere, so it’s a great experience.”
Tuesday – Day One
For PlayBrave, the week started with one of our two media clinics throughout the week and we welcomed the ‘Bucks Free Press’, the ‘Sloaney Season’ & ‘The Telegraph’ to Stoke Park.
The trio were treated to a session on The Boodles practice courts with PlayBrave sponsored coach, Matt Bell; a CCA qualified tennis coach from Southend-on-Sea.
The coach, who spent time on court with Serena and Venus Williams as a youngster has been sponsored by PlayBrave for the past three years and says that the clothes give him an advantage when coaching his clients.
Bell passionately 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.”
Following their coaching session, the PlayBrave guests enjoyed an afternoon of tennis including Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) vs Gilles Simon (FRA), with the Australian prevailing 6-4, 6-2.
The following day (Wednesday) it felt quiet compared to the madness of the day before for the PlayBrave team, however, thanks to the cold weather, our PlayBrave sweaters proved very popular!
Wednesday – Day Two
On the Wednesday, the weather forecast made scary reading thanks to a prediction of heavy rain with a sprinkling of thunder and lightning!
However, this didn’t stop the hundreds of guests at Stoke Park from enjoying a day which included champagne, gourmet burgers and croquet.
The players enclosure was bustling with life throughout the day thanks to a wonderful meal of perfectly cooked salmon, followed by a sumptuous slice of lemon cheesecake.
Following their meals, the diners were treated to a question and answer session with two of The Boodles players: Benoit Paire & Philipp Kohlschreiber.
The famous duo faced questions such as: ‘How many times to do you bounce your balls before serving?’ there was silence in the room before an outburst of laughter from one table saw everyone else erupt into fits of guffawing.
Thursday – Day Three
At the midway point of The Boodles at Stoke Park, PlayBrave held their second media clinic of the week.
Coached once again by CCA performance coach Matt Bell, our group of six journalists, bloggers and social media influencers were all kitted out in full PlayBrave gear before heading out onto the practice courts for a session on the grass.
Elsbeth Carr; a fashion blogger who attended the PlayBrave media clinic was one of the first influencers to arrive and was very quickly drawn to PlayBrave’s all black tennis outfit of a black 'skort', black tennis top and black cap to match.
Carr said: “I think that the clothes are really well designed, I was really attracted to the PlayBrave stand as you can tell, just by looking that the clothes are very high quality.”
After Coach Bell had run all the players through their paces and gauged how good everyone was, it was time to start to rally.
Yahoo Sport journalist Kevin Palmer was in his element and Palmer stole the show as his twenty + years of playing tennis really came to the fore.
Former Gladiators Wayne Gordon (Doom) and Jenny Pacey (Enigma) also took part in the coaching session at The Boodles and both were very complimentary on the fit and feel of the clothes.
Gordon said: “For me, this is some of the best apparel that I’ve worn. I don’t want to talk about other brands, but this (sleeveless) top, is one of the best pieces of apparel that I’ve worn and it gives you the space to move around. I’ll definitely be using this when I work out.”
Pacey echoed the sentiment: “I love the PlayBrave clothes, they’re very versatile and the functionality is great. I’m not the best tennis player, but I’m playing today better than I have played in a long time and I’m putting that down to the PlayBrave clothes.”
In the first game of the day, Britain’s Davis Cup hero, James Ward defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his last game before Wimbledon next week.
Ward, who has just come back from a yearlong injury has not had the best of the times since his return and will be glad to get at least one victory under his belt going into the biggest and best event in the tennis calendar.
The 30-year-old, who attended every home match at his beloved Arsenal last season, had this to say on why The Boodles is so special: “It’s a great venue, the players love it. Everyone wants to come out and play and spend the day and it’s a great chance to come out and play some games before Wimbledon next week, so it’s a great place to come”
Friday – Day Four
On a quintessentially British day of not knowing whether you will need your sunglasses or your rain jacket, ‘The Boodles’ delivered on its promise of a day of entertaining tennis, good food and champagne.
What can get better than a day of watching some of the world’s best players on a sunny day and drinking thousands of pounds worth of champagne with your friends?!
As always, the PlayBrave team were buzzing in anticipation for the day ahead and everyone was in a jovial mood, ready to sell, sell, sell.
In the biggest game of the day, Nick Kyrgios, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in straight sets on Thursday, came back from a 3-0 tie-break deficit to beat Viktor Troicki 10-4 in a set two tie-break.
Kyrgios, who seemed to be suffering with a hip aggravation for large parts of the game, used his massive serve to get him out of jail a few times against his Serbian opponent.
Troicki on the other hand, seemed to put his poor recent form behind him in this match and played some lovely shots down the line, as well as being almost perfectly accurate with his serves.
Following his loss, Troicki wasn’t too downhearted and still told us how much he enjoyed being at Stoke Park for ‘The Boodles’ event.
He said: “First of all, it’s a beautiful site. All the players love being here. We get treated so well, it’s always a pleasure being back here, we get great support from the crowd and it’s just a beautiful event, before a Slam too. It’s great to participate in and it’s great to be back every year.”
Saturday – Day Five
The Lions’ dramatic 21-24 win against the mighty All Blacks on Saturday, embodied the Play Brave mantra of staying cool under pressure and playing brave in the big moments.
The first match of the day saw the next generation of players take centre stage. The young players provided a classic – with American Sebastian Corda edging out Colombian Nicolas Mejia 10-9. The unique format meant that players were very relaxed as a result, with some exquisite exhibition shot making throughout the best of 19 game match.
Fan favourite Nicolas Mejia commented “This has been the best tournament I have been (in) by and far and (like) the people are everything. How they treat the players is really nice”
Both players proceeded to pose for photographs, give autographs and engage with hordes of delighted children – as they took advantage of the exclusive access that you’re afforded as fans, at The Boodles.
Boodles Tennis - the best kept secret in British tennis, was fittingly ended by a British quartet, who were keen to put on a good show for the adoring gallery. A sun-soaked Stoke Park was quite the contrast from the first day rain. An appreciative crowd sat back and took in the spectacle.
What an amazing week it was at Stoke Park for The Boodles, the weather wasn’t as bad as suspected, allowing everyone on site, from security to the hospitality guests to enjoy a great week in a luxurious setting.
It’s over for this year, but we can’t wait for the next one!
Thanks for reading!