Champion. Dominic Thiem

Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open

Dominic Thiem captures first Major title at 2020 US Open

Tremendous result for Austria’s top-talent. It finally happened. After a four-hour, deciding set tiebreak clash with one of his closest friends — instead of 4-time Major Finalist, Dominic Thiem is a Grand Slam Champion.

Over the past two seasons, the tennis world knew it was coming. It wasn’t a question of if, but when? Most assumed the first would materialize on red clay. In 2018, Thiem reached his first Major Final at Roland Garros, where he fell to Rafael Nadal in three sets. A year later, he upset World #1 Novak Djokovic to reach the championship match again — only to fall to Nadal in four. Then, this past January, he finally knocked Nadal out of a Major at the Australian Open. After that Quarterfinal victory, he bested Zverev in the Semifinals, and fell to Novak Djokvic in a five-set championship match.

Here in New York, the planets finally aligned. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal chose not to make the trip. Novak Djokovic eliminated himself from the tournament — defaulted for unintentionally injuring a linesperson with a ball struck in frustration. Roger Federer won’t return from knee surgery until 2021. So, for the first time since Stan Wawrinka won the 2016 US Open, tennis fans were guaranteed a Major champion without the name Nadal, Djokovic or Federer. Why not Thiem?

Dominic Thiem. The Odds on Favorite to Win a Slam?

Considering the reputation he’d established since the 2018 French Open, Dominic became the likely pick to lift the trophy. But man did he have to battle to fulfill that destiny.

Truth is, Major titles aren’t about a single championship match. It’s a journey where the athlete has to solve seven riddles over 14-days. At the beginning of this year’s US Open — tennis’ first “Pandemic Slam” where players lived life in a “Bubble” — Thiem earned scrappy wins without playing his best. He finally found his rhythm during a 4th-Round victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. After dispatching Alex de Minaur in the Quarters, he played top-shelf, lights-out tennis against Daniil Medvedev in the Semifinals – a truly master-class performance, limited to 3-sets thanks to timely breaks when Medvedev served for sets 2 and 3.

Stadium Announcer take on the 2020 US Open Championship Match

The 2020 US Open Men’s Singles Championship ended in a deciding-set tiebreak.

A sentence that reeks of implied intrigue and breathtaking drama.

Reality check: This was not an entertaining championship tennis match. While there was drama — that drama was rooted in miscues. The match was tentative. Heavy on mistakes. Unforced errors. Enormous misses. Undeniable nerves. Occasional moments of gutsy payoff. But mostly replete with sorrow for each player’s dependence on the other’s anxious blunders. It was tough on the eyes.

Thiem was absent the first two sets. Up a break early in the third, Sascha was four service games away from capturing his first Major. But the pressure of the moment proved too much. Thiem broke twice to extend the match. Then, on the business end of set-4, Zverev dropped serve again, allowing Thiem to extend the match to a decider. In the 5th, both missed opportunities to serve for the match. Zverev double faulted twice in the tiebreak. For those watching, it wasn’t an issue of who was going to WIN the US Open, it was — who was going to LOSE the US Open.

In the end, Thiem won. Zverev lost. Both clearly struggled with the intensity of the moment. Understandable, considering the Big-3’s stranglehold of experience with these monumental moments. But the truth is, this nervy, anxiety-riddled, difficult-to-watch championship match needed to happen. Somehow, someway, new names will win Majors as the Big-3 era fades — as time marches on. The next Final will be better — for Thiem, for Zverev. Certainly tough to watch — for now — but the transition is necessary.

Good on you, Dominic Thiem. Grand Slam Champion.

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open Champion Dominic Thiem Match Recap

Head to Head: Tenth meeting between these two players

Announcer Andy Taylor. 2020 US Open Champion Dominic Thiem Head to Head

[2] Dominic Thiem -03- (AUT) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction

This year’s #2-seed – In Round-3 he defeated 2014 Champion Marin Cilic. And in the Semifinals, overcame last year’s Finalist Daniil Medvedev. Now a 4-time Grand Slam Finalist, in pursuit of his first Major title – From Austria, World #3 Dominic Thiem.

  • FF — W | [5] Alexander Zverev -07- (GER) | Score: 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(6)
  • SF — W | [3] Daniil Medvedev -05- (RUS) | Score: 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) | RECAP
  • QF — W | [21] Alex de Minaur -28- (AUS) | Score: 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 | RECAP
  • R4 — W | [15] Felix Auger-Aliassime -21- (CAN) | Score: 7-6(4), 6-1, 6-1 | RECAP
  • R3 — W | [31] Marin Cilic -38- (CRO) | Score: 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 | RECAP
  • R2 — W | Sumit Nagal -124- (IND) | Score: 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 | RECAP
  • R1 — W | Jaume Munar -105- (ESP) | Score: 7-6(6), 6-3 RET
[5] Alexander Zverev -07- (GER)) | Semifinal Announcer Introduction

In the Semifinals, down 2-sets-to-love, he launched an incredible comeback, defeating Spain’s Pablo Carreño Busta, earning a spot in his first career Grand Slam Final – right here at the US Open. From Germany, the World #7 Alexander Zverev.

  • FF — L | [2] Dominic Thiem -03- (AUT) | Score: 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-7(6)
  • SF — W | [20] Pablo Carreño Busta -27- (ESP) | Score: 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 | RECAP
  • QF — W | [27] Borna Coric -32- (CRO) | Score: 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 6-3 | RECAP
  • R4 — W | Alejandro Davidovich Fokina -99- (ESP) | Score: 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
  • R3 — W | [32] Adrian Mannarino -39- (FRA) | Score: 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
  • R2 — W | Brandon Nakashima -223- (USA) | Score: 7-5, 6-7(8), 6-3, 6-1
  • R1 — W | Kevin Anderson -117- (RSA) | Score: 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 | RECAP

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 stayed home and “socially distanced,” 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 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.

Announcer 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.