Tokyo 2020 Summer Games stadium announcer Andy Taylor recaps Pablo Carreno Busta’s Bronze Medal victory over World #1 Novak Djokovic. 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.
Pablo Carreno Busta earns Bronze in Olympic debut
Huge week for the 11th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta. Competing in his first Summer Games, he overcame Tokyo’s treacherous heat, earned victories over the top two talents on Tour, and leaves Japan as an Olympic Bronze Medalist.
Honestly, how he captured Bronze was even more impressive than the week itself. Facing the toughest returner in the game, Carreno Busta never once dropped serve. During the match, Djokovic had six break opportunities – Pablo saved them all. Meanwhile, Carreno Busta converted two of his five break chances against the World #1 to earn the win.
The triumph is rewarding on many levels – going back to their controversial Round of 16 match at the 2020 US Open. During that match, late in the first, Pablo broke Novak – setting up an opportunity to serve for the first set. In frustration, Djokovic swatted a ball to the back of the court, striking a linesperson in the throat. As a result, organizers immediately defaulted Djokovic from the tournament.
It was a frustrating outcome for the Spaniard, who was proving to himself and the world that he could tangle with one of greatest to play the game, on the sport’s biggest stage. Today, he fulfilled that delayed destiny in Tokyo, amid similar circumstances.
Frustrated Djokovic becomes his own toughest opponent
Few would disagree that Novak Djokovic’s mental toughness is unmatched. Typically, he’s rock-solid between the ears. When challenges arise – whether its with his own body or an opponent’s imposing strategy – he’s incredibly adept at adapting; at finding ways to win. It’s why he is a 20-time Major champion. It’s why he’s held the World #1 ranking longer than any other player in ATP history.
However, like any human being, the World #1 has his breakdowns. And like at the 2020 US Open, those mental lapses tend to be ugly and aggressive. After yesterday’s frustrating loss to Alexander Zverev in the Semifinals, Novak was not in the proper headspace to battle for Bronze.
At the start of the deciding set, after losing an extended rally, Novak threw his racquet into the empty stands. Astonishingly, he escaped without a warning. Down 0-3, he then smashed his racquet on the net post while returning to his bench for the changeover. Appalling behavior from the sport’s top talent. This time, he got his warning.
Impressively, Carreno Busta never wavered. He held the rest of the way, earning the win.
After the loss, Novak immediately withdrew from the Mixed Doubles Bronze Medal match, citing a shoulder injury. He and Nina Stojanovic were scheduled to take the court in the evening to face Ashleigh Barty and John Peers. Instead, the Australians became Olympic Bronze medalists with a walkover.
Still an Olympic legend despite never earning Gold
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer share the record for the most Olympic Singles match victories (13). The Serbian is now the only player in Olympic history to reach the Men’s Singles medal round three times. The Bronze Medalist in 2008, he’s now lost two Bronze Medal matches: London and Tokyo:
- 2008: Fell to Rafael Nadal in Semifinals. Defeated James Blake to earn Bronze
- 2012: Fell to Andy Murray in Semifinals. Fell to Juan Martin Del Potro in Bronze Medal match
- 2016: Fell to Juan Martin Del Potro in the opening round
- 2021: Fell to Alexander Zverev in Semifinals. Fell to Pablo Carreno Busta in Bronze Medal match
The Calendar “Golden” Slam is off the table. The Calendar Grand Slam still in play.
Initially after winning his 20th Major at Wimbledon earlier this month, Djokovic was non-committal toward Tokyo 2020. Most likely the greatest male talent of the Open Era (with an endless list of Tour records to back it up), there’s one elusive accomplishment the World #1 has yet to achieve: The Calendar Grand Slam (winning all four Majors in the same year).
While Novak did hold all four Major titles at the same time after capturing his first Roland Garros title in 2016 – the Calendar Grand Slam is far more rare and illustrious. Only 6 players have achieved the feat:
- 1938: Don Budge
- 1953: Maureen Connolly
- 1962: Rod Laver
- 1969: Rod Laver (first Calendar Grand Slam of the Open Era)
- 1970: Margaret Court
- 1988: Steffi Graf (Calendar Golden Slam, she also won Gold in Seoul)
Therefore, after capturing his third Major of 2021 at Wimbledon, most tennis fans assumed Novak would forego Tokyo 2020 to focus on the Calendar Grand Slam; especially considering the pandemic-related circumstances surrounding the Games in Japan. However, the allure of representing his nation and potentially becoming the first since Steffi Graf to earn the Calendar “Golden” Slam proved too magnetic.
While his preferred destiny didn’t pan out in Tokyo, Djokovic still has an opportunity to accomplish one of the rarest feats in tennis next month in New York.
Sixth meeting. Pablo Carreno Busta’s first true victory over the World #1.
Today’s Bronze Medal match was the second meeting between Carreno Busta and Djokovic since Novak was defaulted from their Round of 16 clash at last year’s fan-less US Open. A month later, Novak defeated Pablo in the Quarterfinals of the pandemic-moved, autumn edition of Roland Garros. This afternoon, Pablo out-played the World #1 to earn Olympic hardware.
 Pablo Carreno Busta -11- (ESP) | Bronze Medal Announcer Introduction
A 2-time US Open Semifinalist – on Tuesday, he defeated World #2 Daniil Medvedev to reach the Medal Rounds – and today, competes for the Bronze medal in his very first Olympic Games. Just 2-weeks-ago in Hamburg, he captured his second title of the season, and now owns 6 ATP Singles titles in all. Representing Spain – the World #11, Pablo Carreno Busta.
- FF — W —  Novak Djokovic -01- (SRB) | Score: 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3
- SF — L —  Karen Khachanov -25- (ROC) | Score: 3-6, 3-6 | RECAP
- QF — W —  Daniil Medvedev -02- (ROC) | Score: 6-2, 7-6(5) | COURT-1
- R3 — W — Dominik Koepfer -59- (GER) | Score: 7-6(7), 6-3 | COURT-2
- R2 — W — Marin Cilic -37- (CRO) | Score: 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 | COURT-1
- R1 — W — Tennys Sandgren -81- (USA) | Score: 7-5, 6-2 | COURT-2
 Novak Djokovic -01- (SRB) | Bronze Medal Announcer Introduction
A 20-time Grand Slam champion – he is one of only 3 men to earn the Career Grand Slam TWICE, and has held the World #1 ranking longer than any other man in tennis history. This week in Tokyo, he became the first player in Olympic Tennis history to reach the Medal Rounds for a third time. Representing Serbia, 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist and the reigning Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion, Novak Djokovic.
- FF — L —  Pablo Carreno Busta -11- (ESP) | Score: 4-6, 7-6(6), 3-6
- SF — L —  Alexander Zverev -05- (GER) | Score: 6-1, 3-6, 1-6 | RECAP
- QF — W — Kei Nishikori -69- (JPN) | Score: 6-2, 6-0 | RECAP
- R3 — W — Alejandro Davidovich Fokina -34- (ESP) | Score: 6-3, 6-1 | RECAP
- R2 — W — Jan-Lennard Struff -48- (GER) | Score: 6-4, 6-3 | RECAP
- R1 — W — Hugo Dellien -139- (BOL) | Score: 6-2, 6-2 | RECAP
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 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, 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.