Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Olympic alternate Max Purcell’s Round-1 upset over World #15 Felix Auger-Aliassime. In Japan, the live narration includes two voices: Japanese announcer DJ Ketchup and English announcer Andy Taylor. Together, they cover the presentation on Center Court, while additional Japanese and English speaking announcers cover Courts 1 and 2 at Ariake Tennis Park.
What a story!
A top-40 Doubles player, Max Purcell is ranked outside the top-150 in Singles. He wasn’t even supposed to be in Tokyo. Purcell got called up a week before the Summer Games when Alex de Minaur tested positive for COVID. Originally slotted to exclusively play doubles with John Peers, Max’s insane good fortune continued in Japan.
On Saturday, 2-time Gold medalist Andy Murray announced his withdrawal from the Singles event – deciding instead to focus all of his energy on the Doubles competition with partner Joe Salisbury. This left a Round-1 opening in the Singles draw that Max was more than happy to fill. And he made the most of the opportunity, scoring a top-15 win over one of the brightest young talents in the game.
Side note: Marton Fucsovics also withdrew from the Singles competition on Saturday. Max’s regular doubles partner and fellow 2020 Australian Open Finalist, Luke Saville, stepped-in for Fucsovics — but fell in the opening round to World #12 Hubert Hurkacz.
First Tour-level meeting between Purcell and Auger-Aliassime
Max Purcell -190- (AUS) | Round 1 Announcer Introduction
Competing in his first Olympic Games, this 23-year-old is a Grand Slam Doubles Finalist. In 2020, he teamed with Luke Saville to reach the championship match at the Australian Open. Last month in Eastbourne, he reached his first ATP Tour Singles Semifinal. Representing Australia, Max Purcell.
- R1 — W —  Felix Auger-Aliassime -15- (CAN) | Score: 6-4, 7-6(2)
 Felix Auger-Aliassime -15- (CAN) | Round 1 Announcer Introduction
At 20-years-old, he just reached his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal at Wimbledon, and comes into Tokyo with a career-high ranking of World #15. Last month in Halle, he defeated Roger Federer en-route to the Semifinals. Representing Canada, making his Olympic debut, Felix Auger-Aliassime.
- R1 — L — Max Purcell -190- (AUS) | Score: 4-6, 6-7(2)
Andy Murray -104- (GBR) | Round 1 Announcer Introduction (Unused)
This 34-year-old is the first player in Olympic tennis history to win back-to-back Singles Gold medals. He also capture Silver in Mixed Doubles at the 2012 Games in London. Competing in his 4th Olympic Games, representing Great Britain – 3-time Grand Slam Champion and former World #1, Andy Murray.
- WITHDREW / Quad injury, still playing Doubles with Joe Salisbury
SUMMER GAMES | Men’s Singles Medalists
Amid COVID concern, the Games go on
Postponed for a year due to the global coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games finally launched on Friday, 23 July 2021. After 18-months of lockdowns, desperately trying to contain COVID’s insidious spread, the world finally developed effective vaccines. Sadly, though, 4-million lost their lives, while over 193-million contracted the virus. And Tokyo’s case count was on the rise.
But thanks to science and nearly 2-years of experience, organizers understood that it was entirely possible to responsibly stage the Summer Games without creating a super-spreader event. No fans allowed. Tickets revoked. All international visitors barred from the country – unless competing or working.
From the athlete, to the volunteer, to the announcer — everyone involved with the Games exercised the procedures and protocols painstakingly learned through 18-months of uncertainty and despair. Quarantines. Life in bubbles. Regular hand-hygiene. Masks. Limited long-term indoor exposure to others. And of course, social distancing. But above all else: Most of the Tokyo 2020 team was vaccinated.
Come hell or high water, the Summer Games would go on.
Naomi Osaka ignites the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cauldron
On a more positive note, one of the most distinguished honors in all of sport is to be asked by your nation to light the Olympic cauldron. Any American over 40 remembers the emotional moment in 1996 when Muhammed Ali courageously climbed the steps to light the flame in Atlanta. His body ravaged by Parkinson’s disease. That singular moment creates indelible memories.
This year, the Japanese Olympic Committee secretly bestowed the honor to 23-year-old Naomi Osaka. Originally scheduled to play the first match on Center Court Saturday morning, it was unusual on Friday to hear that her match had been moved to Sunday. Nothing further was said.
Then, at the conclusion of a subdued, yet deeply respectful opening ceremony and parade of nations – it was Naomi Osaka who climbed the steps and torched the flame that brightly burned over the Games of the 32nd Olympiad. Obviously, it was a humbling honor not lost on the 4-time Grand Slam Champion, who was making her Olympic debut.
Tennis was well represented during the parade of nations as Petra Kvitova (CZE), Jelena Ostapenko (LAT), and Veronica Cepede Royg (PAR) all served as flag-bearers.
Tennis at the Summer Games
While tennis was one of the premier sports featured during the Games’ initial revival, the sport has a contentious history with the Summer Games. It fell off the radar after 1924, mainly due to conflicts between the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the IOC. The two major obstacles:
- Allowing professionals to compete in a global showcase for amature athletics.
- Scheduling. With the Summer Games so close to the conclusion of the Wimbledon Championships, the ILTF and the IOC were in direct competition for tournament participation by the sport’s top-athletes.
After a 60 year absence, tennis and the IOC worked out their differences, and the sport returned as an official event during the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Now under the guidance of the International Tennis Federation, professionals are allowed to represent their home nations.