“That Match Changed the Game”- Former Tennis Player Andrew Castle Recalls Iconic Wimbledon Final Between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

Published 07/07/2021, 8:11 AM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 12: Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Rafael Nadal of Spain after defeating him in the Men’s Singles Semi Final at The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship at the All England Lawn and Tennis Club at Wimbledon on July 12, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)


Tennis is an age-old sport that has evolved over the years. Not just the players and their outfits, but the style of playing has drastically changed in recent times as well.

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Even though the beauty of traditional, authentic tennis still exists, an unorthodox, vibrant and agile style of play has proved to be more entertaining. However, while the entry of vibrance might be recent, its foundation was laid 11 years ago.

Rafael Nadal of Spain congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland on winning their Men’s Final as Roger Federer holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup match on day 14 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Legendary tennis commentator and former player, Andrew Castle, recently recalled one of the most iconic tennis matches he ever gave voice to. A match that he believes ‘changed the game’, he revisited the iconic 2008 Wimbledon final.

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As the crowd witnessed a young Rafael Nadal take on the favorite, Roger Federer, none were ready for what was to come. Remembering one of the most memorable matches in the history of the sport, Andrew said, “That match changed the game. The gold standard of tennis improved in one match. They pushed each other to mad limits.”  

Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon title in 2008

Roger Federer is one of the most decorated players to have played the sport. With 20 Grand Slam titles to his name, the Swiss legend has won it all. Regardless, the loss of 2008 will haunt him forever, as a young Nadal announced himself to the world of tennis. That ‘battle of the best’ is considered as one of the most fiercely fought matches to have ever taken place.

“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,” Andrew said.

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates during his Gentlemen’s Singles third round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Winning your first Wimbledon title is always special. But beating Roger Federer to do so is an unbelievable achievement. That match as entertaining as it turned out to be, was also the beginning for many to believe in the impossible.

Ever since, Nadal has cemented his name in the ‘Big 3’ conversation and gone on to be on the same pedestal as his Swiss counterpart.

Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 1, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates winning his second round match against France’s Richard Gasquet REUTERS/Paul Childs

Andrew also believes another name is to be credited, someone who raised the standard of Tennis through his own display of art. “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,” he said.

History is about to be re-written

11 years on, the two legends have met on countless occasions, providing some power-packed performances. Both always at their best, desperate to get the better of the other. They individually and their rivalries with each other, have inspired generations of talent, some of which they are up against today.

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DIVE DEEPER

Wimbledon 2021 Men’s Quarterfinals Including Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic: When and Where to Watch, Schedule, Predictions

29 days ago

As the 2021 Wimbledon Championship continues, Andrew believes Novak Djokovic is the favorite to lift the trophy. With Nadal not participating in the tournament, the path to the title is half clear.

In the remaining half stands a man who will want to end the ‘G.O.A.T’ debate, ending Novak’s dream of a formidable. Fans hope to see the defending champion take on the definite champion in yet another ‘Battle of the best’.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 14: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning the Men’s Singles final against Roger Federer of Switzerland during Day thirteen of The Championships – Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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