World No.1 Novak Djokovic headlined a stunning day of action at Stoke Park as The Boodles returned for 2019. The defending Wimbledon champion was joined by talents such as ATP Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov and World No.10 Fabio Fognini as some of the ATP's biggest names put on a show for the crowds.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC d. CRISTIAN GARIN 6-2 6-4
Djokovic served big and controlled the rallies to race out of the blocks in his first meeting with 23-year-old Garin. The young Chilean found his feet in the second set, firing some fierce forehand winners to secure a break of serve at 4-2. But the 15-time Grand Slam champion upped the ante from there, playing his part in flashy rallies and ultimately producing tennis too consistent for his opponent to match.
The Serb was back at The Boodles for the first time since 2016, and looked as though he had never left.
“It's a great environment, a great tournament,” he enthused post-match. “I've been playing here since 2007 and I'm good friends with Patricio, the man in charge of organisation for this event. It's a light-hearted environment – a fun and engaging and interactive atmosphere, and people love their tennis, love showing up and having fun. And lovely smiles in the crowd.”
The World No.1 complimented the relaxed nature of the event.
“It's good preparation, good quality opponents, but at the same time... it moves you away from the stressful, sort of pressurised moments [while you're preparing] for one of the biggest tournaments in the world,” he explained.
Djokovic heads into The Championships next week as the defending champion, and he reflected on the changes between his position this time last year and the present.
“Coming off from surgery and dropping out of the top 20 to win Wimbledon was a huge turning point for me last year,” he shared. “It meant a lot to my confidence and just the quality of my tennis. Things change, you know, when you win a Grand Slam. Regardless of your ranking, it just affects your whole life and your confidence and the way you feel on the court. So that meant a lot, and since then it was all upwards for me in the last twelve months.”
Popular Canadian Denis Shapovalov returned to The Boodles for the first time since 2017 to record a straight sets (6-3 6-3) victory over Italian Fabio Fognini, producing top drawer tennis to take the lead and maintain it, while Martin Klizan and Diego Schwartzman played out an equally entertaining match.
Klizan came from behind to upset the World No. 24, picking up a 3-6 7-5 10-5 victory over the Argentine.
Play continues today (Wednesday) from 2:30pm.
Order of Play
Wednesday 26 June 2019
Novak Djokovic (SRB) v Denis Shapovalov (CAN)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) v Karen Khachanov (RUS)
not before 5pm
Fabio Fognini (ITA) v Diego Schwartzman (ARG)