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Stoke Park, Park Road, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, SL2 4PG
Wimbledon’s out of town warm up didn’t fail to deliver its trademark glamour and style this year. V&E dusted down its Sunday best and checked out the hospitality offering at Stoke Park.
Eating canapés from a tennis racquet is something of a first, but we’re not complaining. To be honest, there’s not much we wouldn’t eat quails eggs with black pudding from.
Rolling up to the grand entrance of Stoke Park, it was clear from the linen suits and Ascot-worthy hats that this crowd were as game for strutting as they were for tennis. And the venue, as you’d expect, was equally well turned out.
After a healthy serving of mini bites, we took a brief ogle at the jewels in the Boodles Gallery. ‘Just browsing thanks’ has never been more appropriate. We were then ushered through to the Players’ Enclosure for lunch.
A fittingly British oven-baked lamb with mini shepherd’s pie was followed by a peach ice cream with raspberry sorbet. As we snarfed the last of it down, the crowd were treated to some informal player interviews.
Turns out the tattoo-laden Janko Tipsarevic (world number eight) is a part-time DJ and Grigor Dimitrov dabbles in a little philosophy. So, Maria Sharapova goes for brains as well as looks, eh?
Then, of course, the tennis. It was fun to see the boys adding a little showman-like swagger to the game, which ended with JT narrowly taking the match in the third set.
Best bit: the tennis! Oh, and the chance to sit in the Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Maseratis dotted around the entrance. Casual.
Room for improvement: There could have been more space to sit down outside. One tires easily carrying Champagne.
Sponsors: Boodles, Patek Philippe, Veuve Clicquot, H R Owen, Highland Spring.