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. Additional Japanese and English speaking announcers cover Courts 1 and 2 at Ariake Tennis Park.
Mixed Doubles Final: Best match of the tournament. Fitting end to a remarkable 9-days in Tokyo
Thrilling capstone to a dramatic nine days of upsets, exhaustion, overwhelming heat and talented new faces topping the Olympic podium.
Earlier in the day, first time OIympians Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Kejcikova captured Gold for the Czech Republic. Alexander Zverev, also competing in his first Olympic Games, earned Germany’s first-ever Gold Medal in Men’s Singles.
But tennis saved the ultimate cliff-hanger for the final match of the tournament, as teammates from the Russian Olympic Committee battled for Mixed Doubles Gold.
It’s only fitting that Pavlyuchenkova and Rublev won the match. All four of their triumphs this week came in match tiebreaks. The final five minutes featured clutch shot making, with everything on the line.
- Down 7-9 in the decider, Vesnina and Karatsev saved a pair of Gold Medal points
- They then earned their own match point (10-9)
- Rublev held the next two to earn a third Gold medal point for he and Pavlyuchenokova (11-10)
- Vesnina got it to (11-11), before Pavlyuchenkova ripped a huge return on Elena’s second serve
- Up (12-11), Rublev finished the match with an overhead — and collapsed to the court
And just like that, tennis at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games came to an end. With all its twists and turns, palpable intensity despite fan-free stadiums, pandemic restrictions and logistical challenges – the players, crew, staff and volunteers still managed to create an unforgettable experience for those watching around the globe.
COVID be damned. The Games endured.
Match context: 8th Mixed Doubles Championship of the Olympic Games
Remarkably, for the fourth time at the Olympic Games, the Mixed Doubles championship match features teams representing the same nation. Tonight, these teammates compete for Gold, and the enduring title: Olympic Champions.
 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev (ROC) | Gold Medal Announcer Introduction
Dramatically, these two top talents won all three of their previous matches in nail-biting match tiebreaks. On Friday, they earned their spot in tonight’s Gold Medal match by defeating Bronze Medalists John Peers and World #1 Ashleigh Barty. She is a 2-time Olympian and just reached her first Grand Slam Singles Final at Roland Garros. He is the World #7, owns 8 ATP Singles titles, and is competing for Gold is his Olympic Games debut. Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev.
- FF — W — Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev (ROC) | Score: 6-3, 6-7(5) [13-11]
- SF — W — Ashleigh Barty and John Peers (AUS) | Score: 5-7, 6-4 [13-11] | COURT-1
- QF — W — Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan (JPN) | Score: 7-5, 6-7(0) [10-8] | COURT-2
- R1 — W — Daria Jurak and Ivan Dodig (CRO) | Score: 5-7, 6-4 [11-9] | COURT-4
Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev (ROC) | Gold Medal Announcer Introduction
Mixed Doubles Finalists earlier this year at Roland Garros, this tandem upset upset the top-seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Nicolas Mahut in the opening round. And on Friday, defeated Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic to reach tonight’s Gold Medal match. A 4-time Olympian, she captured Olympic Gold in Rio, is a 4-time Major champion, and has been ranked as high as World #1. He captured his first Singles title this year in Dubai – and at the Australian Open, became the first player in the Open Era to reach the Semifinals in his Grand Slam main-draw debut. Representing the Russian Olympic Committee, Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev.
- FF — L —  Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev (ROC) | Score: 3-6, 7-6(5) [11-13]
- SF — W — Nina Stojanovic and Novak Djokovic (SRB) | Score: 7-6(4), 7-5 | COURT-1
- QF — W — Iga Swiatek and Lukasz Kubot (POL) | Score: 6-4, 6-4 | COURT-2
- R1 — W —  Kristina Mladenovic and Nicolas Mahut (FRA) | Score: 6-4, 6-2 | COURT-4
SUMMER GAMES | Mixed Doubles Medalists
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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 also 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.