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Tommo's great day but he can't lay a glove on Djokovic


Jordan Thompson lived out his childhood dream of playing on Wimbledon's centre court but fell in straight sets to Novak Djokovic. Picture: Alastair Grant.

Jordan Thompson soaked up all the love, banged down most of the aces and played one hell of a match - but Australia's new-look tennis star still felt the same old sinking feeling that everyone gets on Centre Court against the great Novak Djokovic.


On Wimbledon's most fabled stage for the first time, the famously hirsute 'Tommo', all spruce, shaved and youthful for his main debut, produced just about the most vibrant performance he could have hoped for, firing down 21 aces against the greatest returner in the game's history.


Yet even with the crowd really warming to the Sydneysider - while evidently getting under the seven-time champion's skin - Thompson ended up having to admit he hadn't really laid a glove on Djokovic, who celebrated his 350th grand slam win with a routine 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 victory.


Yet the 29-year-old, whose serve-and-volley tactics quite failed to unruffle the champ, still felt it had been a "privilege and an honour" to play the man he believes could be the best of all-time on the biggest stage.


"Did my best. He's an incredible player," shrugged Thompson.


"I got broken twice but to be honest I didn't really get a look in on his serve, couple of deuce games 30-alls, probably count them on one hand. It was a good performance but he was quite dominant."

He came closest to success in a tight second set. "So close, but so far," he shrugged.


"I only hit two double faults in the match and one of them was in the tiebreak that gave him the lead. That's why he's the best, he just clutches up.


"But I think I served very well, don't think too many guys have got over 20 aces against him, so that's a pleasing stat, but I was still broken twice, beaten in straight sets.


"It felt the crowd were really behind me. One person didn't learn their lesson, yelling out '(his nickname) 'Nole!', then about a thousand back shouting my name. It was fun to be a part of."


Djokovic didn't look best pleased at the one-sided nature of the support.


"Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer) they're loved; Novak's highly, highly respected," said Thompson, pointing out the difference.


"But 23 grand slams, I can see why he's the greatest of all times and the leading grand slam titleist. It (the crowd reaction) could be irritating for him, but I reckon I'd rather be in his shoes.


"When I play, I feel like I get a fair bit of crowd support, and I don't know where it comes from... I don't know if it's the former moustache, being an Australian in England, or the way I go about things, but it's always pleasing to get a bit of crowd support... But no-one's recognised me since I had a haircut and a shave. Even the guys I'm playing against - I just joke back that I'm a new man, playing the juniors."

"But it was a privilege and an honour today. I'd always wanted to be out there on Centre Court as a kid, everyone does. I remember watching Lleyton (Hewitt) in winter time, before school would start, and I thought I want to be there one day."


'Tommo' got his wish - and he certainly did not let himself down.


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