Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Andy Murray advances to Round-2
By the skin of his teeth.
Down a break at the start of set-3, after two frustrating hours on court, 2012 US Open Champion Andy Murray looked cooked. The southpaw Yoshihito Nishioka was aggressive, accurate and unrelenting. With twice as many unforced errors / double faults, Murray’s forecast was grim.
But this is tennis, and he’s Judy Murray’s kid. You don’t win two Wimbledon titles, two Olympic Gold Medals and lift your country to its first Davis Cup title in 79-years by limping through a bad day at work. You keep grinding, scratching, digging for a mere taste of opportunity.
The door finally inched open halfway through the third. Andy broke to level the set and hung-on to the tiebreak. Up 5-4, he scored the only mini-break — and two points later, began the long and exhausting, yet encouraging expedition to victory.
He saved match point, then won set-4 in another tiebreak. Broken midway through the decider, he broke right back. After 4.5-hours, Nishioka – playing his first professional match since cracking the ATP’s top-50 for the first time back in February – failed to hold while serving to stay in the match.
A 1st-Round win on paper. A tremendously encouraging mental victory for Andy Murray. But mostly, an affirming triumph for Murray’s hip-resurfacing surgeon.
Head to Head: First meeting between these two players
Andy Murray -115- (GBR) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
He is a 3-time Grand Slam Champion, a Davis Cup Champion, owns 2 Olympic Gold Medals, and held the World #1 ranking for 41 consecutive weeks. From Great Britain, 2012 US Open Champion Andy Murray.
- R1 — W | Yoshihito Nishioka -49- (JPN) | Score: 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4
Yoshihito Nishioka -49- (JPN) | Round-1 Announcer Introduction
This February in Delray Beach, he reached his second career Singles Final and cracked the ATP’s top-50 for the first time. From Japan, Yoshihito Nishioka.
- R1 — L | Andy Murray -115- (GBR) | Score: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(4), 4-6
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.