Match Recap from Announcer Andy Taylor, Voice of the US Open
Petra Kvitova advances to the Round of 16 in an empty Arthur Ashe Stadium
The coveted night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium. It is a late night, big city, uniquely New York celebration, bringing together tens of thousands of fans from around the world to enjoy the last gasp of Summer — with a little tennis thrown in. Because, after all, that’s why you bought the ticket.
If the match captivates — Ashe gets loud. Epecially for the underdog. Unless the underdog is playing Serena, Roger or Rafa. If the match is a snooze — Ashe gets loud anyway. Because when you’re in the sport’s largest Colliseum surrounded by elites and Hollywood celebrities, dancing like a drunk uncle for the chance see yourself on the stadium’s video walls is mandatory. That may actually be printed on the ticket.
It’s the underdog who misses fans the most
This year, in the sport’s first Pandemic Slam, the players have been robbed of that experience due to the coronavirus. Tonight, 26-year-old Jessica Pegula – who’s family owns the Buffalo Bills and Sabres – walked on Ashe to face a 2-time Major Champion. Had Arthur’s house been filled with fans, they would have gone crazy – potentially propelling Jessica to victory…or at least to a 3rd-set.
When Jessica lost set-1 with a double fault, the fan reaction would have been palpable, supportive. When she broke right back to open the second, they would have exploded – fueling Pegula with encouragement, motivating her to keep taking chances, to go for it. Even in defeat, a packed Ashe match would have been a remarkable experience for the New Yorker, who captured her first singles title on Tour last Summer in D.C.
Instead, it was dead calm when Jessica produced a vengeful break and steady hold to open set-2. It was dead calm as Petra screamed “Pojď!” time and again to pump herself up after breaking back. And it was eerily silent following “game, set, match – Kvitova,” as Petra earned a spot in the 4th-Round of a Major for the 20th time.
Many of this year’s players are beginning to see the benefits of competing without fans. Serena said: “It’s calming.” Petra prefers her inner voice over the distracting din of partiers knocking-back Honey Deuces in their suites.
But it’s the underdog who feels fan-absence the most. It’s the underdog who could use that extra boost. Sure, fans watching at home sorely miss the atmosphere of the United States Open as well. But it’s the new faces achieving career-firsts who miss New York’s dynamic atmosphere the most.
Head to Head: First meeting between these two players
 Petra Kvitova -12- (CZE) | Round-3 Announcer Introduction
She’s a 2-time Wimbledon Champion. A 3-time Grand Slam Finalist. Earned Olympic Bronze in Rio. And has led her country to a remarkable 6 Fed Cup titles. From the Czech Republic, Petra Kvitova.
- R3 — W | Jessica Pegula -63- (USA) | Score:
- R2 — W | Kateryna Kozlova -99- (UKR) | Score: 7-6(3), 6-2 | RECAP
- R1 — W | Irina-Camelia Begu -73- (ROU) | Score: 6-3, 6-2
Jessica Pegula -63- (USA) | Round-3 Announcer Introduction
She captured her first WTA Singles title last Summer in Washington D.C. And in January, started the season with a Finalist run in Auckland. Making her Grand Slam 3rd-Round debut – From Buffalo, New York: Jessica Pegula.
- R3 — L |  Petra Kvitova -12- (CZE) | Score:
- R2 — W | Kirsten Flipkens -72- (BEL) | Score: 7-6(1), 6-7(3), 6-3
- R1 — W | Marie Bouzkova -46- (CZE) | Score: 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3)
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.