BBC broadcaster Andrew Castle has urged Andy Murray to continue playing tennis, despite his early exit from Wimbledon this year.
Hip surgery seemed to have ended Murray’s career, but he has battled back to return to the men’s circuit over the past couple of years.
The 34-year-old is understandably not at the level he once was, although his fighting spirit still allows him to be competitive.
He beat Nikoloz Basilashvili and Oscar Otte in the first two rounds of this year’s men’s singles, before being defeated in straight sets by Denis Shapovalov in his third match.
However, in a recent interview with Betway, Castle implored one of Britain’s greatest ever sportsmen to carry on playing as long as possible.
“He said after his first match that he can’t understand why people keep asking him if this might be the end,” Castle said. “Which is just perfect, really, because there’s no feeling like winning.
“He’s still doing it, he can still compete. Why would you stop? He’s still thrilled that he’s out there, as am I.”
Castle’s emotional attachment to Murray’s career was cemented in July 2013, when he became the first British man to win the singles title in the Open Era.
Although he claimed victory by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets, the Serbian made Murray sweat for most of the contest.
Castle fondly remembers the moment when Murray finally got the job done and how he set about describing the action in the commentary box.
“Kenneth Wolstenholme used up the greatest winning line ever in 1966,” he added. “So I was under pressure to come up with something!
“Ultimately, you don’t plan a winning line. The great thing about commentary is that you can use silence as a tool, and let the pictures do the work.
“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. Throughout that game I kind of knew it was my job to lead viewers through the emotional turmoil.
“Something like 72 percent of UK televisions were watching, so that was quite a responsibility. Hopefully we did it justice.”
With Murray out of this year’s tournament, attention has switched to Djokovic’s bid to equal the record of 20 Grand Slam wins held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic faces Shapovalov in the semi-finals and will meet either Hubert Hurkacz or Matteo Berrettini if he progresses to the final.
Castle has backed Djokovic to produce a grandstand finish to draw level with Federer and Nadal, and believes that the aura around the All-England Club will add to the occasion if he achieves the feat.
“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Wimbledon so special,” he said. “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.
“I have goosebumps when I arrive and nobody’s around. It’s just one of the great privileges to call it my place of work.”