Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action against Britain’s 253rd-ranked Jack Draper during their first round match at Wimbledon on Monday. LONDON: Novak Djokovic overcame an early scare before getting his bid for a sixth Wimbledon and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title off to a winning start on Monday while rain brought havoc to the schedule, one year after the tournament was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Defending champion and world number one Djokovic, looking to become just the third man in history to complete a calendar Grand Slam, claimed a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Britain’s 253rd-ranked Jack Draper. However, the 34-year-old Serb struggled on the slippery Centre Court surface with the roof closed above it due to the rain. Left-handed Draper, playing just his fifth match on the main tour, saved seven of seven break points in the opener to stun the top seed. But Djokovic soon snuffed out any danger of him becoming only the third defending champion to lose in the first round, by sweeping through the remainder of the tie. He finished with an impressive 25 aces and 47 winners as his 19-year-old opponent, who grew up just six miles (9.5km) from the All England Club, wilted. Next up for Djokovic will be either former runner-up Kevin Anderson or Chilean qualifier Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera. It was the 34-year-old Djokovic’s first match on the court since his epic five-set win over Roger Federer in the 2019 final, the longest title match in tournament history and where he saved two championship points. His match on Monday was preceded by a standing ovation for Professor Sarah Gilbert, one of the key scientists behind the Oxford Asra-Zeneca Covid-19 vaccine who was a special guest in the Royal Box. Wimbledon looks very different with Covid-19 protocols in place and a 50% capacity until finals day, but one familiar feature was the summer rain. Play on the outside courts started five hours late with 16 of the day’s scheduled 64 matches cancelled until Tuesday. Belarus second seed Aryna Sabalenka had the honour of being the first winner at the tournament in two years when she downed Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 under the roof of Court One. Sabalenka fired 48 winners past Niculescu. Former champion Garbine Muguruza began her latest Wimbledon quest in ruthless fashion as she made up for a rain delay to crush France’s Fiona Ferro 6-0 6-1. American Sloane Stephens won the battle of Grand Slam winners against twice Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, ousting the Czech 10th seed from the All England Club with a 6-3 6-4 victory.