Day Five of The Boodles 2016
As attention turns towards the Championships, Wimbledon starting on Monday, players at The Boodles made their final grass-court preparations ahead of the third Grand Slam of the year.
Rising American star Taylor Fritz took on the Netherland's Robin Haase and despite a 64 76(5) defeat is feeling good about his preparations. The #NextGen star has been handed a tough draw against No.4 seed Stanislas Wawrinka but is excited at the opportunity to take on the two time Grand Slam winner:
“There’s no pressure on me, that’s the best thing you can take away when you’re playing one of the top players. I’m just excited to get out there and play, I presume we’ll be on a pretty good court so I’m just excited to get out there.”
The 18 year-old former junior No.1 has enjoyed a meteoric rise up the ATP World Tour rankings to No.63 and nearly caused an upset in Stuttgart recently against his childhood idol, Roger Federer:
“It was really encouraging (taking Roger Federer to three sets in Stuttgart) knowing that I was right there. When I won the second set the feeling was like ‘did that really just happen?’ The guy I watched destroy everyone when I was 12,13,14 who was just unbeatable, I’m playing now. It was amazing. It’s really crazy to be on the tour right now and have those experiences, I’m really excited to have more of those.”
British No.2 Aljaz Bedene was also defeated today 61 63 by Lukas Rosal from Czech Republic and like Fritz also has a steep challenge in the opening round having drawn 2015 semi-finalist Richard Gasquet but is counting on home support to get him through:
“He’s a great player, I’ve watched him a few times, even my team has a Gasquet fan in it. It’s never easy to play someone who’s been a top ten player for a while but I have to focus on my game and stay aggressive. We’ll talk about his weaknesses but I know what his weaknesses are, there aren’t loads but there are a few so I’ll just try to focus on my game and see what happens.
“Playing Gasquet at Wimbledon, it’s probably going to be a bigger court than last year so it will be a special day for me. Playing in front of a home crowd is always good so I’m excited for Tuesday.”
The Boodles has a long tradition of welcoming some of the brightest young stars in the game, Novak Djokovic first visited as a 17 year-old, and this year the crowd had the opportunity to see a future star in current world junior No.1 Stefan Tsitsipas from Greece take on Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The Spaniard won the match 62 64 but the youngster, who has served as hitting partner throughout the week, gained some valuable experience and advice:
“It’s been a great experience for sure, I got an opportunity to play with so many top players. It helped me a lot, some of them really helped me and gave me some good advice and I feel lucky to have had the chance to play with them.
“It was a dream come true for me (to hit with Djokovic). He told me to smile more during practice, because I was in a bit of a bad mood, even though I was playing with him I was getting angry with myself, getting frustrated when things I was supposed to do didn’t work, but he told me to just keep smiling during practice and everything would be ok.”
In the final match of the day Serbia's Dusan Lajovic defeated Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis 63 64 to round off another stellar year at The Boodles.
The 15th anniversary edition welcomed not only stars of the tennis world but stars of the screen too with visits from the latest James Bond Miss Moneypenny, Naomie Harris and James Bond and Sherlock villain Andrew Scott among others.
Results - Saturday 25th June 2016
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 62 64
Robin Haase (NED) d Taylor Fritz (USA) 64 76(5)
Lukas Rosol (CZE) d Aljaz Bedene (GBR) 61 63
Dusan Lajovic (SRB) d Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 63 64