At Interview with Announcer Andy Taylor
During the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2018, Andy Taylor was profiled in the tournament’s daily program and in an article published in The Peninsula Newspaper.
DOHA: Andy Taylor is the man who keeps the fans waiting for a quick Q & A session with the players once they wrap up their matches on Centre Court at the Khalifa Tennis and Squash Complex. For a change, we ask the questions and Andy does the answering!
Question: How long have been doing this as a career?
My first tennis event was a 2002 Fed Cup Tie between the United States and Israel in Springfield, Missouri USA, where I was a morning-show host for KTTS-FM. During the Tie, the President of the USTA invited me to New York to audition for the role of Arthur Ashe Stadium Announcer at the US Open. Thankfully they appreciated my style of announcing and storytelling, and I’ve been the “Voice of the US Open” ever since. And what a first year it was! Venus and Serena Williams were the ladies finalists, while Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi met in the men’s Final.
Question: Who has been the funniest interview for you and why?
In 2014, Stan Wawrinka won the Australian Open and climbed to a career-high ranking of World #3, ahead of Roger Federer. That March, at Indian Wells, the two were playing doubles together in front a packed house inside Stadium-2. After their victory, I congratulated Stan for winning his first Major, and asked how it felt to be the World #3. Then with Roger looking on, I asked Stan how it felt to be the #1 Swiss player in the world…Accompanied by groans from the entire stadium, the question created an entertainingly awkward, tongue-in-cheek moment on court. Stan handled it brilliantly, heaping praise on the greatest to ever play the game. It was a fun conversation. We spent five minutes ribbing each other.
Question: Are there any players who make you nervous and why?
Most of the players are extremely professional and conscientious. They don’t make me nervous. My preparation, or potential lack of preparation because of the busy schedule, is what makes me nervous at times. Certainly no where near as nervous as I was before the 2014 Qatar ExxonMobil Open Trophy Presentation, when the QTF told me just moments before I took the court that I would be interviewing David Beckham. It was remarkably intimidating. I was actually trembling during the conversation, hoping the camera couldn’t see my vibrating hand gripping the microphone. FACT: David Beckham is amazing. He made for an easy-going interview.
Question: Do you like coming to Doha and what’s the best thing you enjoy doing here?
I love Doha. The city’s amazing. I’ve been to Souq Waqif, the desert and inland sea, but with the demanding schedule of the tournament, haven’t had the opportunity to experience all the State of Qatar has to offer. I hope to keep coming back and look forward to seeing more in the future!
Question: What do you think about the growth and popularity of Qatar ExxonMobil Open?
The Qatar ExxonMobil Open has won the ATP-250 Tournament of the Year twice in the past three years. That speaks volumes. As a team, we work hard to ensure the players and fans enjoy a memorable experience – from the facilities at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, to the accommodations, transportation, entertainment and on-court presentation – everyone with the QTF is committed to excellence. And it shows. When the players are comfortable here, we – as fans – get to experience their best play. We’re always finding ways to improve.
Question: How do you prepare for an interview after a match?
Preparation starts long before the tournament begins. It’s important to have an understanding of each player’s successes and accomplishments. Knowing this information makes the matches even more exciting, when you understand what each athlete has been through to get to this point. That is why I carefully craft pre-match bios that we present during the warm-up – to give fans a better perspective on the players competing. I take that preparation and my thoughts on the match itself into the interview, and simply focus on having a casual conversation based on how the winner played.
Question: Is it difficult to get the players talking after long and tiring matches?
Absolutely. And who can blame them? In these situations, out of respect, I always try and keep the conversation short and concise.