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Djokovic Begins Wimbledon With Several Falls And 4 Sets Victory Over British Teenager

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic.

June 28, (THEWILL) – Competition resumed on the grass courts of Wimbledon as the first match on Centre Court in two years turned into a crowd-pleaser with multiple standing ovations for the crowd watching a British 19-year-old admirably take on and fall to tennis world number one Novak Djokovic in four sets 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.

Although Jack Draper’s chances were nowhere near favourable against the prime form that the Serbian currently exhibits, some of the ovations on the opening game went his way as the teenager produced a stirring debut in the All-England Club competition.

Djokovic entered the year’s Wimbledon as both defending champion and champion-elect even before any serve was made simply based on the overarching quality of his stroke-play and the overwhelming expectation that he will go on to win this event on the estimation of his current form.

That was part of the rationale behind the ovation Draper received for playing well enough to keep the champion at bay long enough to win the first set. Along the way, the Brit saved seven out of seven break points, to the pleasure of the largely home crowd cheering him on at every point

The teenager, who is best known for being the son of the former Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper, was obviously the underdog but he did well to cope with the biggest crowd that tennis had seen since the start of the pandemic and came up with some points to savour, like a backhand that delivered several laser-like winners so sweetly struck that even Djokovic had to join in the ovation.

It was not long before the world number one got the hang of his opponent’s serve and took control of the match as a whole. The elements of his stroke and style were on full display as Djokovic wasted no further time to land his own serve superiority. It was the outstanding Djokovic all over again as he fired 25 aces in the match without breaking a sweat.

There was a slight effect of the turf on the Serb as he slipped to a fall a couple of times but not enough to be disconcerting for his game. Djokovic kept his focus on his play enough to close out the start of his title defense in exactly two hours, by the end of which it was easy to have forgotten that he conceded the first set.

In his post-match remarks, he said about the falls: “I don’t remember falling this many times on the court: Quite slippery. I don’t know whether that’s because the roof is closed or because it rained quite a bit in the last few days. Maybe I’ll work on my movement and slide a bit less because it doesn’t seem to be working on this surface.

“It feels great to be back, and seeing everyone on probably the most special, most sacred court in the world.”