STARNBERG, July 27, 2021 (Guest post)
With the sun setting on the careers of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, two titans of the court, it makes one contemplate just how lucky tennis fans have been to bear witness to what is arguably the greatest era of tennis to date.
In a recent interview, former British men’s no.1 and current BBC sport commentator Andrew Castle spoke about the current era of tennis. He believes that the 2008 final between Federer and Nadal where the latter claimed the victory kicked off this epoch of greatness.
“That match changed the game. The gold standard of tennis improved in one match. They pushed each other to mad limits.
“I remember it was Tim Henman’s first Wimbledon final as a commentator. We both sat there in the commentary box in shock and awe.
“Of course, since then there have been more, mainly featuring Djokovic. He has just quietly won five Wimbledons – I remember the 2018 semi-final against Nadal, particularly. Another mind-boggling match.
“Nadal with his determination and muscularity is genius, but I have to say I think I’ve seen the best tennis come from Novak’s racquet. He came to the party slightly after the other two, but I think he might have been the most remarkable.”
Castle also spoke about the 2013 men’s final, when Andy Murray became the first Brit to win the tournament in quite some time.
“Murray had three championship points at 40-0 up in the final game, lost them all, and was back at 40-40. The director pushed into Murray’s eyes and what you could see was a man trying with all of his heart and soul, feeling every emotion going.
“It was a beautiful shot. All I had to do was give a little line and back off. Throughout that game I kind of knew it was my job to lead viewers through the emotional turmoil.
“Something like 72 per cent of UK televisions were watching, so that was quite a responsibility. Hopefully we did it justice.”
“He said after his first match that he can’t understand why people keep asking him if this might be the end,” Castle says, “which is just perfect, really, because there’s no feeling like winning.
“He’s still doing it, he can still compete. Why would you stop? He’s still thrilled that he’s out there, as am I.”