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Novak Djokovic sends message to Jack Draper after beating British teen at Wimbledon


The 19-year-old gave the defending champ a brief scare on Centre Court (Pictures: EPA / Reuters)

Novak Djokovic believes British teenager Jack Draper is destined for a big future in tennis after the reigning Wimbledon champion saw off the youngster in four sets on Monday.

The wildcard made a superb start to the match, taking the opening set under the roof on Centre Court, but Djokovic – who is bidding to win a record-equalling 20th Slam title – showed his class and Draper only managed to win five more games as the Serb claimed a 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2 victory.

Nevertheless, it was an encouraging Wimbledon debut for the 19-year-old and world number one Djokovic was full of praise for his opponent afterwards.

Draper gave an excellent account of himself, particularly in the first set (Picture: Getty)

Asked how big a future Draper can have, Djokovic said during his post-match, on-court interview: ‘Well he definitely deserves a round of applause.

‘He’s a youngster, I think only 19. I hadn’t seen him play too much prior to Queens tournament that he played pretty well and won a couple of matches against high-ranked players.

‘You know, walking onto Wimbledon Centre Court for him, for the first time, I think he has done extremely well.

‘He carried himself very maturely on court. I think he behaved well, he backed himself.

‘He believed that he could come back and he just deserves the credit for that and I wish him all the best in the rest of his career.’

On making his return to Wimbledon after over 700 days, with the Championships having been cancelled last year, he continued: ‘It feels great seeing everyone and being back.

Djokovic took a little while to find his feet in the first set (Picture: Getty)

‘Probably the most sacred, most special tennis court in the world. Obviously alongside many other players I was very sad last year that Wimbledon was cancelled. Very difficult times for everyone.

‘But I’m really glad that the sport is back and hopefully you guys enjoyed [the match] and will enjoy it in the next couple of weeks.’

Djokovic is bidding to win the Golden Slam this year – all four majors and the Olympics in the same calendar year – having already won the Australian and French Opens and will face either Kevin Anderson or Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera in the second round at Wimbledon.


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