Former British No. 1 Andrew Castle believes that Novak Djokovic edges out Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the best tennis player of his generation.
Djokovic is just two wins away from clinching his sixth Wimbledon title – a feat that would see him equal Federer and Nadal’s tally of 20 Grand Slam victories.
The Serbian has dropped just one set on his way to a semi-final meeting with Denis Shapovalov and is strongly fancied to progress to the final.
With Matteo Berrettini and Hubert Hurkacz contesting the other last-four match, Djokovic is long odds-on to win Wimbledon for the third time in succession.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have been at the forefront of men’s tennis for more than a decade now, with the trio regularly contesting major titles.
In a recent interview with Betway, Castle highlighted the 2008 final between Nadal and Federer as the point where tennis moved onto another level.
Castle was in the BBC commentary box that day alongside Tim Henman, and he admits that the pair were amazed at the level of play during the five-set thriller won by Nadal.
“That match changed the game,” he said. “The gold standard of tennis improved in one match. They pushed each other to mad limits.
“I remember it was Tim’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 made his first Grand Slam appearance at the Australian Open in 2005, and reached his first final at the US Open two seasons later.
He bagged his first Grand Slam title in Australia the following year, but it wasn’t until 2011 that he truly demonstrated his ability to compete with his two biggest rivals.
Djokovic won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open, and was a semi-finalist in the French Open during a spectacular year.
He has since won a further 15 Grand Slam titles, and is now just one behind Federer and Nadal in the all-time list.
The 34-year-old is a heavy favourite to beat Shapovalov in this year’s Wimbledon semi-final having never lost against the Canadian in six previous meetings.
He is also unbeaten against Berrettini and Hurkacz, highlighting why he is so strongly fancied to win his 20th career Grand Slam title.
Castle says he is looking forward to calling the action and believes that Djokovic is on the cusp of achieving a truly remarkable feat.
“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.”
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