Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Donna Vekic’s Round-2 upset of World #3 Aryna Sabalenka. 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.
Tremendous “must-win” victory for Donna Vekic after pulling out of Doubles
Croatian tennis fans were not happy with Vekic yesterday. She needed 2-hours and 48-minutes to dispatch Caroline Garcia in the 1st-Round. And the conditions were BRUTAL. With 11:00 start times, those playing the day’s first three matches are melting in Tokyo’s searing Summer heat and humidity.
After the match, Donna knew there was no way she could play her 1st-Round Doubles match with Daria Jurak – so she withdrew, leaving Daria without an eligible partner. Dropped from the draw, Sara Errani and Jasmine Paolini replaced the Croatians – and the Italians upset one of the top tandems, Nicole Melichar and Alison Riske.
Thankfully, Daria still has a shot at a medal. The Mixed Doubles draw comes out tomorrow, and word is she’ll team with Ivan Dodig.
Fifth meeting between Vekic and Sabalenka
Donna Vekic -47- (CRO) | Round 2 Announcer Introduction
At 25-years-old, she owns 2 WTA Singles titles, is an 8-time Finalist, and has been ranked as high as World #19. A Quarterfinalist at the 2019 US Open – yesterday, she defeated Caroline Garcia in a 3-set thriller to reach today’s 2nd Round match. Competing in her first Olympic Games, representing Croatia, Donna Vekic.
- R2 — W —  Aryna Sabalenka -03- (BLR) | Score: 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)
- R1 — W — Caroline Garcia -73- (FRA) | Score: 6-2, 6-7(2), 6-3 | COURT-8
 Aryna Sabalenka -03- (BLR) | Round 2 Announcer Introduction
This 23-year-old owns 10 WTA Singles titles, and comes into her first Olympic Games with a career-high ranking of World #3. This year alone, she’s won 2 WTA Singles titles, has reached 3 Finals, and won her second Grand Slam Doubles title at the Australian Open. Representing Belarus, the #3 player in the world, Aryna Sabalenka.
- R2 — L — Donna Vekic -47- (CRO) | Score: 4-6, 6-3, 6-7(3)
- R1 — W — Magda Linette -45- (POL) | Score: 6-2, 6-1 | COURT-1
SUMMER GAMES | Women’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 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
One of the premier sports featured during the Games’ initial revival, tennis’ history with the Summer Games is contentious. 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 proudly represent their home nations.