Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan’s opening round victory over Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev. With rain approaching, organizers moved the late match to Center Court to take advantage of the roof in Ariake Coliseum. One more victory ensures Japan the opportunity to medal in Tokyo.
Earlier in the evening, McLachlan and Kei Nishikori fell in the Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals to Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic. Japan’s medal hopes now rest on the shoulders of Shibahara and McLachlan – along with Kei Nishikori, who faces World #1 Novak Djokovic in the Men’s Singles Quarterfinals.
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.
Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan (JPN) | Round 1 Announcer Introduction
Competing in her first Olympic Games, she’s enjoying a breakthrough season on the WTA Tour. She’s captured 4 titles this year alone, was a Semifinalist earlier this month at Wimbledon, and comes into Tokyo with a career-high ranking of World #10. He captured his first ATP Doubles title on this court at the 2017 Japan Open, and now owns 6 ATP Doubles titles in all. Ranked as high as World #18, he was a Semifinalist at the 2018 Australian Open. Representing Japan, Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan.
- R1 — W — Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev (KAZ) | Score: 6-3, 7-6(3)
Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev (KAZ) | Round 1 Announcer Introduction
Now a 3-time Olympian and 2-time Grand Slam Doubles champion, she owns 13 WTA Doubles titles, has reached 28 career Finals, and has been ranked as high as World #3. In 2010, she captured back-to-back Majors at Wimbledon and the US Open, and reached the Mixed Doubles Final at Roland Garros. And he makes his Olympic debut with a career-high Doubles ranking of World #35. Last month, he teamed with Alexander Bublik to reach his first Grand Slam Doubles Final at Roland Garros. Representing Kazakhstan, Yaroslava Shvedova and Andrey Golubev.
- R1 — L — Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan (JPN) | Score: 3-6, 6-7(3)
SUMMER GAMES | Mixed Doubles 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 Japanese announcer and English 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.
Well represented during the parade of nations, tennis players 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 still 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. 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.