Wimbledon Saves Its Biggest Applause For A Vaccine Hero

Sarah Gilbert didn't need a racket to earn adoration as the Grand Slam event returned from a pandemic absence.

Game, set and jab.

Sarah Gilbert, the Oxford scientist who co-developed the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, was showered with applause at rainy Wimbledon on Monday as the tennis tournament returned from a year’s absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Watch the clip below.)

Before Novak Djokovic played Britain’s Jack Draper in the opening match on Centre Court, the tournament announced that guests included “leaders who have developed the anti-COVID vaccines.”

Polite applause swelled into a sustained standing ovation at the famous arena. Gilbert, sitting in the royal box, appeared both touched and embarrassed as many, including the Duke of Kent, directed cheers toward her and other health-service heroes.

Fans didn’t have much to cheer about in the match. Draper lost in four sets to Djokovic.

While the return of the prestigious grass court event signaled a giant step toward normalcy, Wimbledon still won’t feel fully the same as usual. Spectators must submit proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and wear face masks while walking around, Sky News noted.

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