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Tuesday 19 June 2012

Tennis star Andy Murray is in South Bucks this week

Fans flock to see their tennis hero

By our reporter Julie Redman

Leading an all-star line-up and opening on Wednesday what should prove to a fabulous day's tennis at a tournament in Stoke Park - on the outskirts of Slough - when he takes on talented Serbian World Number Eight, Janko Tipsarevic.

The British sporting hero comes to The Boodles in search of extra grass-court match practice ahead of Wimbledon and will open at 2.30pm against Tipsarevic. Murray, likely to be seeded fourth at Wimbledon next week, is also scheduled to play on Thursday, alongside World No.1 Novak Djokovic.

In Wednesday's other matches, big-serving American John Isner takes on last week's AEGON Championships champion Marin Cilic. David Nalbandian, who was runner-up to Cilic at Queen's will let his tennis do the talking when he plays talented Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.

The Boodles 2012 began with a bang after a packed crowd at Stoke Park watched some of the brightest stars of the men's game in action on a sun-drenched opening day of the tournament. Guests and ticket-holders were treated to some dazzling grass court tennis as top players honed their grass-court games ahead of Wimbledon.

In the first match of the day, Stanislas Wawrinka, ranked 24, outlasted World Number Eight, Janko Tipsarevic 1-6, 7-6(5), 10-8, clinching the win on a match tiebreaker. Tipsarevic received treatment during the match but allayed any concerns ahead of Wimbledon in his post-match interview with The Boodles MC Natalie Pinkham. "It's just blisters, nothing to worry about," he said.

Tipsarevic and Wawrinka entertained guests in the Players' Enclosure ahead of their match, taking questions from those enjoying a sumptuous lunch, courtesy of Stoke Park's award-winning chefs. Both players were asked, amongst other things, about whether they thought Murray could win a grand slam. Both of them answered with an unequivocal "Yes" - an answer which proved very popular with the crowd. "I think so and I hope so," said Wawrinka. "He's a great guy and a great player."

Gilles Simon made a personal The Boodles breakthrough by achieving his first career win at the tournament, clinching at dramatic 4-6, 6-3, 10-7 win over The Boodles debutante Alexandr Dolgopolov in a match tiebreaker. The genial Frenchman looked thrilled with his victory and gained warm applause from the near-capacity crowd.

In the final match of a memorable opening day, Fernando Verdasco sent the crowd home happy with a battling display to beat Ernests Gulbis 6-7(4), 7-6(5) and taking the match tiebreaker 10-4. Verdasco required treatment for a stiff back during the encounter but showed no lasting effects of the problem and finished the match with his best tennis of the afternoon.

Picture by: Jordan Mansfield