Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Novak Djokovic advances to Round-3
Not Novak’s best work this afternoon. But true success in individual sport doesn’t come from flawless precision alone. The ultimate heights of athletic achievement arrive when talents realize – more often than not – will and perseverance are mightier swords than raw talent and perfectionism.
In other words, work harder and smarter than your opponent. Be flexible. Allow mental headspace to adjust. Problem solve and never quit. There’s always opportunity until you hear “game, set, match.” Ask Andy Murray after his improbable 4.5-hour comeback yesterday.
Like everyone else, the best in the sport are fully capable of defeating themselves. However, thanks to the hours put in – thanks to competitive success and disciplined training – they’re more mentally equipped to recover, endure and ultimately win.
Take today’s first set for example. Novak and Kyle both held to the tiebreak. Thin margins. Few errors. Solid tennis. The entire first 70-minutes of the match came down to a single forehand error from Djokovic at 5-all in the tiebreak. Kyle served it out and took the early lead.
For most, that aggravating error is like thrusting a knife in your own back. It’s a soul crusher. But for those who’ve put in the work – these hiccups are simply part of the match journey. Rather than feed the aggravation, these mental rocks reframe the reality. Down a set after 70-minutes, it’s quite possibile Novak said to himself: “Okay. I lost the set. But more importantly, I exhausted my opponent – which can only work in my favor down the stretch.”
And that it did. Novak finally broke Edmund following set-2’s first changeover, and never looked back.
Head to Head: 7th meeting between these two players
Two years ago, Kyle defeated Novak on clay in Madrid. They last met on this court in 2016, when Kyle reached the 4th-Round of a Major for the first time. Ranked World #84, he took-out Richard Gasquet in Round-1, John Isner in the 3rd, then fell to Djokovic in the Round of 16.
 Novak Djokovic -01- (SRB) | Round-2 Announcer Introduction
A 17-time Major Champion and the #1 Player in the World, he has held the sport’s top-ranking for 284 weeks combined. From Serbia, 8-time Finalist and 3-time US Open Champion, Novak Djokovic.
- R2 — W | Kyle Edmund -44- (GBR) | Score: 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 | RECAP
- R1 — W | Damir Dzumhur -109- (BIH) | Score: 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
Kyle Edmund -44- (GBR) | Round-2 Announcer Introduction
Ranked as high as World #14, he is a Grand Slam Semifinalist, a Davis Cup Champion – and in February, captured his second ATP Singles title at the New York Open. From Great Britain, Kyle Edmund.
- R1 — L |  Novak Djokovic -01- (SRB) | Score: 7-6(5) 3-6, 4-6, 2-6
- R1 — W | Alexander Bublic -54- (KAZ) | Score: 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 6-0
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.
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.