February 23, 2024

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All Sports To The Max

BBC defend Andrew Castle’s Wimbledon final commentary after viewers suggested he ‘CONDONED’ Novak Djokovic smashing his racket during the Serbian’s loss to Carlos Alcaraz

BBC defend Andrew Castle’s Wimbledon final commentary after viewers suggested he ‘CONDONED’ Novak Djokovic smashing his racket during the Serbian’s loss to Carlos Alcaraz

The BBC have responded to allegations that they ‘condoned’ Novak Djokovic‘s furious reaction to losing a crucial game in his Wimbledon final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic crashed to defeat against the 20-year-old in a five-set thriller which could have gone either way.

The Serbian showed his frustration in the final set when he smashed his racket against the net and dented a pole in the process.

Fans in attendance loudly booed Djokovic’s actions, while those at home were similarly outraged.

Some fans were unhappy with the BBC’s analysis of the moment, after commentator Andrew Castle said it was ‘understandable how upset Djokovic would be’.

Novak Djokovic smashed his racket during a crucial point of his loss to Carlos Alcaraz

Novak Djokovic smashed his racket during a crucial point of his loss to Carlos Alcaraz

Fans booed Djokovic for smashing his racket with those at home also unhappy with his behaviour

Fans booed Djokovic for smashing his racket with those at home also unhappy with his behaviour

The BBC have defended commentator Andrew Castle saying he made it clear that Djokovic's behaviour was wrong while also suggesting that it was 'understandable' at a crucial point

The BBC have defended commentator Andrew Castle saying he made it clear that Djokovic’s behaviour was wrong while also suggesting that it was ‘understandable’ at a crucial point

The BBC, in a statement via the Express, have argued that their commentators made it clear that the Serbian’s actions – which led to him being given a code violation –  were rightly punished.

They said: ‘We’ve received complaints from people who felt our commentary favoured Novak Djokovic and/or condoned his behaviour after hitting the net post with his racket.’

‘While Andrew Castle highlighted that Djokovic’s anger and frustration was ‘understandable’ at such a crucial point in the match, it was also made clear that this behaviour is wrong, and that Djokovic rightly received a conduct violation for it.

‘Andrew also highlighted that such behaviour can be dangerous, looking back at a similar instance with Djokovic, stating; ‘Disqualified at the US Open in 2020 after unintentionally hitting a line judge. That was a dangerous moment for a lot of reasons’.

It adds: ‘We recognise how these comments came across to some, however, and we’ve shared this with the programme team.

‘Throughout the final, our team shared their analysis and praise for both players. They praised Alcaraz for such performances at such a young age, for the variety in his game, and Andrew did include particular praise of Alcaraz’s game too.’

Castle also came under fire for ‘spoiling’ the epic final by Nick Kyrgios.

Alcaraz won 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in just under five hours, but Kyrgios clearly found the experience of watching the match on BBC annoying and urged Castle to keep his involvement to a minimum. 

Djokovic ultimately fell short to Alcaraz (pictured) in a thrilling final in just under five hours

Djokovic ultimately fell short to Alcaraz (pictured) in a thrilling final in just under five hours

‘Whoever is the clown next to [Todd] Woodbridge in that commentator box needs to just not speak, spoiling the match big time,’ he tweeted.

When a pointed out to him that Castle ‘made the third round at Queen’s in 1986’, the Australian appeared similarly unimpressed. ‘Hahaha amazing,’ was Kyrgios’ terse response.

Castle has been a respected mainstay of BBC’s coverage of Wimbledon for many years, and along with the likes of Tin Henman and John McEnroe he is regularly heard commentating high profile-matches. 

One person tweeted about Castle’s comments over the Djokovic incident: ‘The commentary here is unbelievable excusing the racket breaking as normal.

‘If I was commentating I’d say Djokovic needs to apologise to all those in the court and watching for this incident, not say this is understandable frustration.’