Djokovic 4-6, 4-1 Draper* (*denotes next server)
Draper just cannot get a foothold in Djokovic’s service games – the world No.1 is finding his feet and holds to love once again.
Djokovic* 4-6, 3-1 Draper (*denotes next server)
The world No.1 steps in on Draper’s serve and wins the first point. Draper then shows heart and guile to win the second point with a fine forehand. Djokovic is finding his angles and playing some good groundstrokes now but a slip allows Draper to get to 30-30. A serve down the line then gets the Briton to 40-30 and he holds serve with a big forehand smash.
How Draper took the first set against Djokovic
Djokovic 4-6, 3-0 Draper* (*denotes next server)
This is more like it from the 19-time slam winner – he’s been impressive on his serve (since he was broken) and again holds serve to love in double-quick time. Simple and effective from the world No.1.
Djokovic* 4-6, 2-0 Draper (*denotes next server)
Djokovic didn’t win one break point in the first set – he has one break point in Draper’s first service game in the second and a double fault ensures the world No.1 finally breaks the serve of the British wildcard.
Djokovic 4-6, 1-0 Draper* (*denotes next server)
For all Draper is playing well there are a high number of errors from Djokovic – a wayward backhand is so long, under no pressure as to draw gasps from the crowd. He makes no mistake the rest of the game to win it to 15. He had his chances in the first set and he’ll try take any chances he gets this set.
DRAPER WINS FIRST SET!! Djokovic* 4-6 Draper (*denotes next server)
The first point of the game is a cracker – the pair engage in a rally before Djokovic hints at coming to the net and Draper plays a delightful forehand winner. In all the big points so far – either on serve or returning – Draper has risen to the challenge. He has two set points and sends a booming serve which Djokovic can only return long. Wow, how good and gutsy was Draper. To be fair Djokovic hasn’t played badly but Draper was very impressive there. Nerves, what nerves?
Draper wins the first set 6-4.
Djokovic 4-5 Draper* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic has been racing through his service games and does so again winning to love in about the time it took me to type out this sentence.
Draper will now be serving for the first set – I didn’t think I’d be typing that line out 40 minutes ago.
Djokovic* 3-5 Draper (*denotes next server)
Draper is again under pressure on his serve at 0-30 down. He then has a second serve which Djokovic deals with easily enough and the Briton now has three break points to save. He saves the first and then produces a fine second serve with a lot of spin to save the second (Djokovic going long with the return). He then saves the third – Djokovic has had six break points so far and converted none of them. At deuce there’s a long baseline rally during which Draper gives as good as he got before going long with a backhand. But a Draper ace then saves yet another break point. He produces another ace for advantage and then wins the game thanks to a forehand into the net from the world No.1.
Very impressive battling skills from the 19-year-old.
Djokovic 3-4 Draper* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic raced through that game to remind the 19-year-old that he is world No.1, 19-time grand slam winner and not to get ideas above his station, so to speak…
Djokovic* 2-4 Draper (*denotes next server)
The errors are now creeping into Draper’s game – a double fault and a wayward backhand gives Djokovic the early advantage and two break points. It’s an opportunity to get back on terms. Draper saves the first break point, then saves the next thanks in part to a huge first serve and in part to another slip from Djokovic. Djokovic then goes long and Draper sees out the game – from 15-40 down that was very impressive.
The defending champion
Djokovic 2-3 Draper* (*denotes next server)
There have been a number of unforced errors already creep into Djokovic’s game – it’s early days yet but it’s still a bit of a shock. He’s 0-15 down before some big first serves see him win four unanswered points.
Djokovic* 1-3 Draper (*denotes next server)
Draper gets to 30-0 before a double fault stops his momentum only for a bit, though, as a big booming serve gets him two service points. He’s looking assured at the moment – not overawed at all as Djokovic goes wide to make it 3-1 early on to the British wildcard.
Djokovic 1-2 Draper* (*denotes next server)
Djokovic was less than slick there. He hit a long forehand on the run, then a double fault, before Draper hits a great winner to give him two break points. The world No.1 saves the first with a volley, before another error gifts Draper a break. That’s something of a shock. Draper’s more than settled into this match.
Djokovic* 1-1 Draper (*denotes next server)
Great first serve from Draper which the world No.1 can only hit out long. That should settle some nerves. The Briton then engages Djokovic in a rally and again comes out on top – his strong backhand to the fore. At 30-15 there’s a brutal baseline battle – few beat the Serb in that manner and Draper goes long – he’s now under pressure at 30-30 on his serve. Djokovic moves Draper around the court in another baseline battle which gives him an early break point. He cannot capitalise as he slips and gives Draper and easy down-the-line winner for deuce.
Draper makes no mistake from then and wins his first game with a forehand smash – he’s in this match now.
Djokovic 1-0 Draper* (*denotes next server)
The grass always looks lovely on day one, before the sun (if it bothers to show up…) dries it out and makes it look slightly worn and bare…Djokovic also looks good during an easy opening service game which he wins to love. Brisk and business like.
Djokovic and Draper stroll onto the hallowed turf
Wonder what’s going through Jack Draper’s mind?
The last time Centre Court saw some action was when Djokovic beat Federer in that memorable final two year’s ago (while, at the same time England were beating New Zealand in an equally memorable (cricket World Cup final) at Lord’s… what a day of sport that was…).
The players are ready and about to walk out onto Centre Court
The crowd (those lucky ones who have got tickets, whose Wifi connections didn’t let them down in the scramble for access the All England Club) are full of voice and currently applauding key workers of the NHS , and one of the daughters of Captain Sir Tom Moore.
Jack is ready
“What an opportunity for me to play against the best player in the world. I’m definitely going to relish the opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it. To be on Wimbledon Centre Court opening the Championships with him is something that’s amazing.”
Draper would do well not to look at the roll of honour…
More on the wildcard
Let’s talk about Jack Draper
Welcome to Wimbledon, Jack!
Centre Court, first up against the world No.1…’Daunting’ doesn’t really do the task on the hands of the 19-year-old justice, does it?
Here are some facts about the British wildcard.
He’s the son of former Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper.
Draper has already earned comparisons with the young Andy Murray. He has something of the same gangling energy on the court, as well as a similar build.
He won three $25,000 Futures events in Britain in 2019, which was a big deal for a 17-year-old.
In short, Draper is Britain’s best prospect since Andy Murray burst onto the scene back in 2005.
So let’s get this conversation out of the way early on…
Should Djokovic win his sixth Wimbledon crown he’ll move to 20 grand slam titles which is exactly the same number both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal possess. The debate about who is the best ever, for once and possibly for only a short time, wouldn’t be able to decided by a simple ‘let’s see how many medals you’ve got’ type approach.
Each of the three GOATS (yes, I know, they can’t all be GOATS but allow me that please, if only so I can placate their huge and vociferous fanbases…) can arguably claim they are the one, true greatest and have the fans who’ll make their case for them in forceful ways. But what fans of Fed and Rafa (me included) can no longer do is rubbish Djokovic’s claims.
Here’s our very Simon Briggs on the world No.1 and his claims to ultimate greatness.
“He has now taken on both Federer and Nadal in their own favourite houses – whether Centre Court or Court Philippe Chatrier – and beaten them at least twice. They, by contrast, have had to bow down to his superiority in his own manor: Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.”
World No.1 vs home hope and possible future star
World No.1 and possible greatest player of all time (more on that later) up against the hottest British prospect since a certain Andy Murray began to make a name for himself in 2005 is certainly a Wimbledon opener worth waiting for.
It’s been two years since Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in one of the all-time great matches (it was the first 12-12 final-set tie-break at Wimbledon and the longest final in SW19 history) and for you Wimbledon-starved fanatics the return of grass-court tennis is here.
Yes, it’s raining and among other cliches strawberries will be served with copious amounts of Pimms quaffed, but the action on Centre Court will provide a welcome reminder that this is the grand slam event they all want to do well at and win – a true sporting behemoth.
Since that final in 2019 Djokovic has cemented his position as the best on the planet. The famous win over Federer got him his 16th slam and he has since gone on to win another three with two of those coming this year. With the Australian Open (his ninth) and French Open (his second) titles already in his 2021 locker the Serbian has one thing on his mind – winning all four in the same year and becoming the first to do so since Rod Laver in 1969.
He may be a marmite character but there is little doubting his supreme ability and desire to finish his career as the undisputed No.1 – at least in terms of slam success.
He’s up against Draper today, a 19-year-old possible star in the making, whose booming left-handed serve helped him reach the quarter-finals of Queen’s two weeks’ ago. No one expects him to beat the world No.1 today but what most do expect is that the home hope – who is known for having a huge competitive streak – will prove an obdurate opponent for the main man this afternoon.
The players are due on court at 1.30 so stay here for the pre-match news and all the action.