Castle tipping Djokovic to equal Grand Slam record

Castle tipping Djokovic to equal Grand Slam record

Tennis

Castle tipping Djokovic to equal Grand Slam record

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Former British tennis No. 1 Andrew Castle is hoping that Novak Djokovic equals the record for Grand Slam victories by winning at Wimbledon on Sunday.

The Serbian breezed into the semi-finals on Wednesday, beating Marton Fucsovics 6-3 6-4 6-4 to stay on course for a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.

Djokovic now faces Denis Shapovalov in the last four and is just two matches away from drawing level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 wins.

Jul 7, 2021; London, United Kingdom; Novak Djokovic (SRB) celebrates his victory over Marton Fucsovics (HUN) in the quarter finals at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

He is also on course to become only the fourth man to win three consecutive Wimbledon titles, alongside Federer, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras.

Castle, who is now the BBC’s lead tennis commentator, will be on duty this weekend as Djokovic attempts to equal the record. 

During a recent interview with Betway, the 59-year-old admitted that he wants the Serbian to match the achievements of two of the sport’s biggest stars.

“Nothing’s ever enough for the great players,” Castle said. “It’s felt like Federer’s era for so long, but to watch Djokovic draw level with him and Nadal would be something quite astonishing to cover.”

The three players have been the dominant force in tennis for more than a decade now, producing an era of brilliance that will be difficult to match in the future.

Federer had won five successive men’s singles finals between 2003 and 2007, with the last two victories coming against Nadal.

The Spaniard finally got the job done in 2008, beating Federer after a thrilling five-set battle. Castle believes that match changed the game.

“The gold standard of tennis improved in one match,” he added. “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.”

Djokovic first won the title in 2011, beating Nadal in four sets. He has since claimed victory on another four occasions, defeating Federer in three of those finals.

The cancellation of the 2020 tournament forced Djokovic to wait for the chance to win a sixth title, but the delay does not appear to have impacted his form.

Djokovic’s only dropped set came in the first round and he is strongly fancied to maintain his unbeaten career record against Shapovalov.

His bid to equal the Grand Slam record is undoubtedly the headline story for Castle, who admits that he has loved being able to return to Wimbledon.

“It’s just unbelievable to be back”, said Castle. “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.”

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