Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Naomi Osaka advances to Round-2
With an aching hamstring, Naomi Osaka withdrew from Saturday’s championship match of the “New York Bubble” Western & Southern Open. Before COVID-19’s spread halted the 2020 season, Naomi wasn’t exactly “trending up:”
- Week-1 went well, she reached the Semifinals in Brisbane
- Then at the Australian Open, she fell to Coco Gauff in Round-3
- In February, she won only 3-games versus Sara Sorribes Tormo in a Fed Cup Qualifier
After six months away – last week’s victories were encouraging. They were all wins over steady and fearless opponents. Players like Mertens, Kontaveit and Muchova. Then, when Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by white police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin – Osaka was impelled to make a statement.
She withdrew from Thursday’s Semifinal in protest of police brutality against people of color. In her words: “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach. I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having the same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?” A short while later, both the WTA and ATP cancelled all of Thursday’s matches as a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Tonight, Osaka faced spitfire Misaki Doi, who played an inspired second set. Considering the injury, the last thing 2018’s Champ needed was a 2-hour opening tussle, but that’s what she got. Thankfully, tomorrow’s a rest day to prepare for Italy’s Camila Giorgi.
Head to Head: Second meeting between these two players
Four years ago, 18-year-old Naomi Osaka won their first encounter at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. That week, Naomi reached her first Tour-level Final and cracked the WTA’s top-50 for the first time.
 Naomi Osaka -09- (JPN) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
She is a two-time Grand Slam Champion. And is the first Asian player in tennis history to claim the World #1 ranking. From Japan, 2018 US Open Champion Naomi Osaka.
- R1 — W | Misaki Doi -81- (JPN) | Score: 6-2, 5-7, 6-2
Misaki Doi -81- (JPN) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
Ranked as high as World #30, she owns 1 WTA Singles title, 2 Doubles titles, and reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2016. From Japan, Misaki Doi.
- R1 — L |  Naomi Osaka -09- (JPN) | Score: 2-6 7-5, 2-6
A New Reality | 2020 US Open Tennis Championships
In late February and early March, announcer Andy Taylor compèred two of the final professional tennis events before the global coronavirus pandemic put the skids on the 2020 season. In Doha, he hosted Aryna Sabalenka’s relentless run to the Qatar Total Open title. Then in Honolulu, he emceed Team USA’s Davis Cup Qualifier victory over Uzbekistan. Including Bob and Mike Bryan’s final professional match.
As U.S. coronavirus cases continued to mount, the day following Team USA’s 4-0 victory, all professional sports came to a grinding halt. Over the next five months, as Americans were asked to stay home and “socially distance,” nearly 6-million contracted the illness. Tragically, over 180-thousand perished. Worldwide, COVID-19 killed over 840-thousand and sickened 25-million (at the time of this writing).
New York hosts the resumption of the 2020 tennis season
Early on, New York City was the epicenter of COVID’s outbreak. The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center became prime real estate for New York’s coordinated pandemic response. Additionally, the state used Louis Armstrong Stadium as a warehouse to pack meals for patients, front-line workers and students dependent on the city’s school lunch program.
In late July, after New York “flattened the curve,” Governor Cuomo green-lighted the USTA’s plans to resume the 2020 tennis season in Flushing. Without fans. Without qualifying. Rather, the Western & Southern Open was moved from Cincinnati to the grounds of the US Open. Furthermore, the USTA implemented strict COVID-19 testing policies. It limited the number in each player’s entourage. Additionally, it created a protective “Bubble” for all tournament participants at nearby hotels and on-site.
Andy Taylor | 19th US Open Tennis Championships
After a five month pause, with the coronavirus “politicized” and still spreading unchecked through portions of the population, Andy was hesitant when asked to be a part of the sport’s return. However, after carefully considering the USTA’s extensive health and safety protocols, he soon realized the US Open could in fact be one of the safest environments to avoid COVID’s spread.
Masks are mandatory. For crew, testing occurs every fourth day. To ensure best broadcast quality, the USTA understood that Arthur Ashe Stadium’s announcer would need to work without a mask. Therefore, they isolated Andy in his own booth. Thus, keeping production team members free from aerosols emitted during player introductions.
Rather than fly, Andy drove to Flushing. He uses his own vehicle to shuttle back and forth from the hotel to the venue, which limits his exposure to others. Additionally, this allowed Andy to bring his own hot plate and coffee machine, completely eliminating the need for others to bring him meals and supplies. Essentially, the Voice of the US Open is working from a bubble within “The Bubble.” Responsibly limiting contact with colleagues and players as much as humanly possible.
A new Grand Slam Global Pandemic Presentation
With the global emphasis on social distancing to avoid further outbreaks of COVID-19, the world of sport production is reinventing “the show” by harnessing new technologies that have emerged over the past decade. As always, the core goal is to meet fans where they are.
In other words, with fans exclusively watching on television – or on-the-go through mobile devices – the 2020 US Open “stadium show” is now geared toward the camera, rather than the ticket holder. This year, Andy and the stadium production team are working closely with ESPN to integrate the broadcast and stadium presentations. Instead of narrating player introductions exclusively for fans on site, intros and all aspects of the stadium show are now part of the broadcast product streamed to fans worldwide.
The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.
Jowett | English translation of Plato’s “Republic”
Live sport presentation is a brave new world. Through perseverance and bold experimentation, the US Open continues to innovate; determined to feed each tennis fan’s hunger after five months of the world’s new and humbling collective-reality.