Novak Djokovic battles back against Brit Jack Draper to sail through Wimbledon opener

Wimbledon in numbers

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Jack Draper gave Novak Djokovic a nasty scare on the opening day of Wimbledon on the Centre Court – but the Surrey teenager could not hold on.

Draper, 19, playing his first ever Grand Slam and having only ever won two matches previously on the ATP tour, got off to a sensational start against the world No 1 as he broke the world no1’s serve, and amazingly won the first set.

Number one seed and tournament favourite Djokovic eventually found his range as he ran out a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 winner – but it was a brave battle by the British youngster.

The Centre Court had not seen any action for two years, and a packed crowd was willing on Draper, who exploded onto the scene by reaching the quarter finals at Queens Club in the build up to Wimbledon a week ago.

Draper actually managed to break the famed Djokovic serve in only the second game of the match, as the great Serb took time to settle.

A slippy court had both players tumbling on occasions – but Draper’s booming serve caused Djokovic, aiming for his sixth Wimbledon and 20th Grand Slam, real problems.

Draper held his serve even as Djokovic began to threaten, to take the set, but the teenager’s serve was then broken early in the second set, and the match, inevitably, began to swing.

Djokovic cruised through the second set and the third as his serve began to find it’s groove, but Draper was never out of it, constantly fighting back and forcing his opponent to work hard.

The Centre Court had seen no action since 2019, when Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in an epic four hour final – and Draper’s gutsy performance had the crowd roaring.

But there were too many double faults, as Draper tried to force the game, and Djokovic’s serve was too accurate and too remorseless.

In the final set Draper, son of the former LTA chief executive Roger, once again threatened, as he forced a break point on Djokovic’s serve.

The world No 1 saved it, but then the British youngster held his serve again – forcing Djokovic to serve for the match under the roof. It took just two hours – but it was a two hours that Draper will never forget.

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