Serbian tennis superstar Novak Djokovic was happy to return to Wimbledon and make a winning start to his campaign. Djokovic, ranked at No. 1 in the world, recovered from a set down to beat wildcard Jack Draper 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2.
Last year, Wimbledon was cancelled due to COVID-19. "It feels great seeing everyone and being back on probably the most special, the most sacred tennis court in the world," said Djokovic, in an on-court interview.
"Obviously, alongside many other players, I was very sad last year that Wimbledon was cancelled. [It was] very difficult times for everyone, but I'm really glad that the sport is back and hopefully you guys have enjoyed it and you will enjoy it in the next couple of weeks."
Djokovic slipped many times on the grass but he didn't injure himself. "To be honest, I don't recall falling this many times on the court," said Djokovic. "[It was] obviously a huge honour to walk onto this court, for me at least the most special court.
I always dreamed of playing at Wimbledon [and] winning Wimbledon one day when I was a kid growing up in Serbia."
Draper made Djokovic work hard
Draper saved a break point in the second game, before breaking Djokovic in the third game for a 2-1 lead.
Djokovic also had break points in the sixth game but failed to convert any of his two break points chances. Djokovic then had three consecutive break points in the eighth game but again failed to capitalize on his chances.
Draper realized his first set point in the 10th game to make a surprising start to the match. Djokovic struggled to convert on his break point chances in the first set but than didn't continue in the rest of the match.
Djokovic broke Draper twice in each of the following three sets to claim a comeback win. "He definitely deserves a round of applause," said Djokovic. "He's a youngster, only 19. [I] hadn't seen him play too much prior to the Queen's tournament, [where] he played pretty well and won a couple of matches against higher-ranked players.
Walking onto Wimbledon's Centre Court for him for the first time, I think he has done extremely well. He carried himself very maturely on the court. I think he behaved well, he backed himself, he believed that he could come back, and he deserves credit for that. I wish him all the best for the rest of his career."