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.

An opening day on Centre Court with a difference…A special moment as we say thank you to those who have played such an important role in the response to COVID-19#Wimbledon pic.twitter.com/16dW1kQ2nr

— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 28, 2021

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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