Dame Sarah Gilbert, one of the scientists who developed the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, received a resounding standing ovation Monday on Wimbledon’s Centre Court for her groundbreaking work. Before the opening match between Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Jack Draper, an announcer told spectators that Monday’s guests included “leaders who have developed the anti-COVID vaccines.” A huge cheer rose up in the arena before he could say anything more. Others joined in the sustained applause, including the Duke of Kent. Gilbert appeared to be moved at the praise. Over 100 daily tickets for Centre Court and Court One have been given by the All England Club to groups including health and transport workers to honor “the service they have provided throughout the pandemic.”
Wimbledon’s chief executive, Sally Bolton, said the tournament will feel familiar after a “level of uncertainty” caused by the pandemic. Still, health measures are in place. Spectators must show evidence that they’ve been vaccinated or a negative COVID test, and face masks must be on when walking around.