The road to Wimbledon takes tennis fans from Nottingham and Eastbourne and back to London with Queens, but the last stop is in leafy SW6 at the Hurlingham Club.
The Tennis Classic combines the exclusivity of Hurlingham with the aesthetics of Giorgio Armani. The product is one of the most luxurious and fashionable events on the tennis calendar: the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Tennis Club
The Hurlingham Club is a private tennis and social club set on 42 acres of South West London nature and greenery. The club has been frequented by the Princess of Wales and registration for membership has been closed since 2018.
Tennis fans can gain access to the beautiful grounds and high quality tennis through the club’s annual Tennis Classic. The Tennis Classic was held over five days from 27 June to 1 July.
The tournament attracted a stellar lineup of ATP stars. This year’s examples include Novak Djocovic, Andy Murray, Casper Ruud, and Cam Norrie, just to name a few.
Unlike other tennis tournaments the experience can truly be described as intimate, as the centre court capacity is as small as 1,600.
I attended on Saturday and was lucky enough to catch world number four Casper Ruud take on 23-year-old Alexei Popyrin on centre court. Ruud kicked off his pre-Wimbledon showdown and played his first match of the year on grass.
The small and close court meant I was only about 10 metres away from Ruud from my seat, which is almost unheard of in most sports.
Hurlingham treated the crowd to a strong game of tennis as Ruud defeated Popyrin (2-6, 7-6, 10-3).
The Tennis Classic also hosts a daily ‘legends doubles’ slot which included players like Mansour Brahimi and Marcos Baghdatis. The end of day treat was a light hearted match between retired players.
This was a real crowd favourite with laughs coming from all across the grandstand. A real highlight was Bahrami playing a point with a bottle of Rose, from a member of the crowd, in his pocket.
Alongside the event’s main title sponsor Giorgio Armani, their other sponsors added extra touches of class and luxury.
Whispering Angel, one of the worst most popular Rose brands had their own tent providing a pink oasis of wine and shelter from the sunny weather. Luxury skincare brand Eve and Lom were present with a pop up showing their products and even the chance to get a luxury facial.
The Giorgio Armani luxury extended from an exclusive viewing platform to the umpire’s crisp blue suits, adorned with their discrete branding. Their special collection extended to the ball kids and line judges. Giorgio Amrmani even hosted a fashion show featuring the exclusive collection on Wednesday.
The luxury fashion did not stop there, with attendees dressed in sharp suits, summer dress, and luxury bags making the whole court eye candy for summer opulence.
After the tennis action wrapped up I headed past the Whispering Angel tent and right to the food trucks and bars to feast on the delicious food they had to offer. The cuisines offered included Lebanese, Spanish, Korean, and Italian (there was even an ice cream stand for the hot sunny weather.)
A special gin and tonic station from London distillers Jim & Tonic was. The gin house even created a special ‘Cooks Plane gin’ for the Tennis Classic which used botanicals harvested from the grounds of The Hurlingham Club.
While attending for the tennis, the intimate and small grandstand bred many conversations and new connections amongst guests. I struck up a conversation with a couple I thought had brought a friend along with them. It turned out they had just met today and already formed a bond over their love for Hurlingham and tennis.
Guests described the week’s event with admiration and excitement, from the tennis to the location.
Roger Lawson, who attended the Tennis Classic for the first time this year, said: “You can see what is going on, the quality of the tennis is first class, the atmosphere is super, and it’s a lovely location, so what’s more to want.
“The last exhibition match, they are such good quality players and yet you know they’re having fun
“We all had fun so what more could you ask for.”
Friends and tennis partners Anna, 40 and Sue, 67 both expressed their love for their day at Hurlingham and especially the quality of the tennis on show.
Anna said: “That match was amazing [the legends game], best tennis ever. You learnt more from that match than the previous two matches.
“They showcase why you have to have your feet or racket where you’re meant to have them.
“Brilliant, perfect, amazing.”
Sue added: “It has been fabulous everyday.
“To be at the Hurlingham, what an experience.”