Andrew Castle insists the enduring dominance of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of men’s tennis is not becoming repetitive, as he suggests true tennis fans are reveling in the sport’s most golden of eras.
Djokovic, Federer, Nadal and Britain’s Andy Murray have shared every Wimbledon title between them since 2003 and while the failure of the next generation to knock them off their perch has been a cause for concern for some, BBC Sport’s lead commentator at The All England Club insists the appetite to see more battles among the biggest names in the game is still there among tennis fans.
Speaking exclusively to Tennis365 on the roof of the Media Centre at Wimbledon, Castle insisted the game should not apologise for the lack of worthy competitors to three champions who have 53 Grand Slam titles between them.
“I wouldn’t say they are making the rest look silly, but they are putting themselves on a different level compared to everyone in the history of the game, there is no doubt about that at this stage,” Castle told us.
“It is almost difficult for me to commentate on these guys at times because you run out of things to say. This is analysing perfection in many ways. These guys achieved levels of excellence many years ago, but now they are in their 30s and they are continuing to take their games and our sport to new levels. It is quite extraordinary. It’s difficult to find the words sometimes, so you have to sit back and let the tennis speak for itself.
“Whatever is ahead for us, we can expect to see those three battling it out for the final this week. We have guys like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Felix Auger-Aliassime coming through, but for now, we have these three incredible legends leading our sport and it is a privilege to watch them do what they do.”
Castle admits the 2019 Wimbledon winner is certain to come from the game’s celebrated living legends, but he admits predicting who will end up as the champion on Sunday is a tough task.
“Watching Federer’s win over Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round on Monday was just incredible,” he added. “That is well as I’ve seen him play in a long time. If he plays like that in the next three rounds, of course he is a contender for the title again, even at the age of 37.
“If Roger plays at his absolute best, he is very hard to beat on a grass court and if Rafa has the willpower and his fitness levels remain where they are, he is more than capable of winning here again.
“I’m just hoping that Nadal stays injury free and continues to produce his best because he has been in sparkling form in this tournament so far.
“If I was pushed to come up with a winner, I still feel Novak has the beating of those two guys due to his style of play and it often feels he is so close to perfection, but this is still a very close contest.
“His match against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals last year was one of the best matches of the whole season and it proved to be crucial because from there, Novak went on a run that saw him also win the US Open and Australian Open while reclaiming the world No.1 position.
“That match on Centre Court last year was effectively a Wimbledon final, as we knew the victory would beat Kevin Anderson in the final, so the level of intensity and quality of play in that match was just spectacular.
“Whichever one of the three wins again on Sunday, it will be a fantastic story and I know that in years to come, we will all look back on this period and appreciate how lucky we were to be watching this great sport at a time when these great champions were raising standards to such incredible levels.”
Wimbledon will be across BBC TV, radio, and online through to the Men’s final on Sunday.
Another update from Andy Murray.
Happy birthday to Goran Ivanisevic.
Juan Martin del Potro back on the tennis court.
Tennis Today features Fedal and Andy Murray.
Coaching merry-go-round in full swing.
Andy Murray upbeat for rest of 2019.
Former world No 1 Kim Clijsters is to make comeback.
Novak Djokovic “actively working on his recovery” in order to be ready for Asian swing.
Your list of Grand Slam female winners by country.
Bianca Andreescu is confident she “can do even bigger things in this sport”, providing that she can stay healthy.