Andrew Castle’s first words about coming back to commentate at Wimbledon were simply “It’s just unbelievable to be back”.
He continued in remarks given to Betway, saying “I was sitting next to John McEnroe on the first day and he was just delighted, too. Even off-mic, he was saying how wonderful it is.”
But this triumphant return didn’t come without some pain. Wimbledon didn’t happen last year, for the first time since World War Two. Of course, we all know that’s because of COVID.
The COVID pandemic has turned the world inside out in the past 16 months and made us all look at life very differently. It also affected Castle on a personal level. He has a wife and two daughters, who had to adapt to the pandemic as a family, just like so many of us.
He expressed his philosophy on the subject in another interview, stating that most people want to share their experiences with each other again. He also added that most people have changed inside, and aren’t quite the same as they used to be.
Castle includes himself in that description, saying that he knows he feels different too.
Many people will understand this line of thought because COVID has affected us in so many unique and painful ways. However, this summer has served as a light at the end of the tunnel for many people.
Events are being held again, and society seems to be opening back up. Whether that’s permanent, nobody can say. But we might as well enjoy the time we have.
That’s certainly what Castle will be doing. Wimbledon holds a special place in his heart and has done ever since he began working there.
“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Wimbledon so special. I could say that the tennis and the atmosphere is what brings it to life, but it still gets you even when it’s dormant and sleeping.”
One of the reasons it’s been so special is the amazing events that have happened there.
Castle recalled how electric it felt when Andy Murray won the men’s singles finals there in 2013.
“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.”
It’s moments like these that make us all realise the beauty of a sport like tennis. It can seem routine and repetitive, with the ball going back and forth across the net.
But it has its moments, like Murray’s win, and when you’re serving as a commentator, it’s memories like that which never leave you.
Most of the people watching TV at the time were tuned into Wimbledon on that day back in 2013, so it captured the attention of the whole nation.
Now, with the shadow of COVID in our lives, moments of national unity have come to be prized more than they have in many decades. Sport is one of those great unifying forces, and tennis has proven its worth in that regard.
In Particular, three tennis players have dominated the game for over 12 years, and Castle has had the joy of being there throughout the entire time.
Those players are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. 2008 was a turning point because Nadal beat Federer after meeting him for the third final in a row.
Castle remembers it well.
“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.”
There have also been a lot more captivating games like that one, and Castle has kept pace with them all.
“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.”
It’s one thing to be a spectator at these matches, revelling in the excitement and the anticipation. But it’s another level entirely if you’re a commentator.
You’ve got to remain calm and collected, while also analysing what’s happening. You can’t let yourself get swept up in the waves of emotion.
This is something Castle has had plenty of practice at, given that he started his commentating career decades ago.
However, commentators still have their personal views on tennis players, and Castle shared his with betway.com.
“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.”
Each tennis player has their strengths and weaknesses, and part of the role of a commentator is to know what these are and provide insights about them.
Castle is a master at this, especially with his experience as both a player and a commentator. That means he’ll only become more knowledgeable as time goes on.
That’s probably one of the reasons why he’s so excited to have gone back to Wimbledon. With the COVID break meaning it’s been 2 years since the last Championships, this one was surely a special moment for Castle.
Djokovic was the favourite to win according to the betting markets, and that’s exactly what happened. Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini to take the men’s singles title.
This means the best tennis did indeed come from Novak’s racquet, just as Castle said. That proves why he remains one of the go-to commentators for the Wimbledon Championships, and we’re all glad to have him back.