Novak Djokovic made a winning start to his Wimbledon title defense on Centre
Court, beating Jack Draper in four sets, but it was far from a straightforward
afternoon’s work for the world No. 1.
Djokovic, who has won 19 Grand Slams including five Wimbledons, found himself
lying flat on the grass on multiple occasions while he also let a set slip against the
plucky British wildcard.
With relentless drizzle overshadowing the first day of The Championships, the Centre
Court crowd was giddy with excitement when Draper came flying out of the blocks
against the top seed, upsetting Djokovic’s rhythm with huge left-handed serves
followed by crunching forehands.
This was perhaps a day many will look back on as the moment Draper – widely
tipped to be Britain’s next big thing in the men’s game – truly announced himself to
his home audience, even if Djokovic, 34, ultimately cruised to a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2
victory in two hours.
Draper, a junior Wimbledon runner-up making his main draw debut, didn’t seem
fazed by the occasion. Rather, he thrived as the roar of the crowd urged him on.
Britain’s Jack Draper celebrates winning a point against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic
during their men’s singles first round match on the first day of the 2021 Wimbledon
Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on
June 28, 2021.
Of course, this was a lesson for the world No. 253 in how far he still has to go to reach
the top. The man on the other side of the net is the sport’s most immovable object in
current times. Perhaps of all time.
He is expected to equal Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s joint men’s Grand Slam
record by the end of this fortnight and few would bet against him going on to
complete the Golden Slam – surpassing his greatest rivals in the process – by the end
And while there may be the odd slip here and there, the end result always seems to
be the same: game, set, match, Novak Djokovic.