It did not take long for Novak Djokovic to make personal history in this edition of The Championships. The World No. 1 hit 25 aces in his first-round win against Jack Draper, the most aces he has hit in a match at Wimbledon.
“I think I probably had one of the best serving performances that I can recall on any surface,” Djokovic said. “I could not be more pleased with the rhythm of my serve. On grass, the quickest surface in our sport, it helps a lot getting a lot of free points on that first serve.”
Djokovic’s 25 aces — under a closed roof on Centre Court — were the second-most he has struck in a match. He even hit four consecutive aces in a row to close out the third set. The Serbian’s personal-best ace count came in the second round of this year’s Australian Open, where he crushed 26 of them against Frances Tiafoe. Both of those matches were four-setters.
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) June 28, 2021
The top seed lost the first set against Draper before rallying, and he lost just five games the rest of the way. Djokovic only dropped four first-serve points in the final three sets combined (42/46).
“[It] was a very good performance. I’m pleased with the second, third and fourth sets, the way I played from the back of the court. I started returning better as well midway [through the] second set,” Djokovic said. “All in all, I’m satisfied.”
A game of aces in 46 seconds ⏱
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 28, 2021
The five-time champion gave plenty of credit to his opponent, who was making his Grand Slam main draw debut. Draper, 19, gave a good account of himself in front of his home fans.
“I thought he was playing well. He was fighting. Obviously for him, [it was] a unique occasion playing for the first time on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. He has done well,” Djokovic said. “[I] had break chances in the first set to come back into the [first set]. He came up with some good serves. I was kind of slipping a few times on those break points, still finding my footing on the grass, [which] was quite slippery, quite moist. It was probably because of the roof.”
Djokovic Begins Wimbledon Title Defence
Djokovic felt he “had things under control”. But the Serbian enjoyed being back on the hallowed SW19 lawns for the first time since 2019, and playing a Briton made for an even better atmosphere.
“He had a crowd behind him. [It] was a really nice atmosphere. I think he’s got an all-around game, really. A very good flat backhand, also a good forehand,” Djokovic said. “Maybe his movement could improve, I think. Probably can and should move a bit better. But he’s still young, there’s always room for improvement. He’s got a very good base, I would say.”