THE WESTERN & SOUTHERN OPEN
Location: Mason, Ohio (Cincinnati suburb)
Venue: Lindner Family Tennis Center
Surface: Hard Court
Notable Champions: Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe
Previous Names: Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open
Also Known As: Cincinnati Open
The Western and Southern Open has become a Cincinnati, Ohio, tradition ever since it started at the Avondale Athletic Club nearly a century ago. Since then, the tournament has been held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center and has become a huge draw in the Cincinnati metropolitan area. It is one of only five tennis events worldwide, outside of the Grand Slams, where the men and women play at the same courts during the same week. The event is held each year in early August and takes great advantage of the beautiful late summer weather. Spread over the tennis center's 16 hard courts, the Western and Southern Open is a major stop on the ATP/WTA tour and is always met by enthusiastic crowds year after year.
The tournament is sometimes referred to at the Cincinnati Masters or the Cincinnati Open by locals, but the event is known as the Western and Southern Open for sponsorship purposes. The tournament usually draws some of the biggest names in men's and women's tennis, and nine of the past 10 Western and Southern Open champions have held the No. 1 worldwide ranking at some point during their careers.
Like large-scale Grand Slam tournaments, the Western and Southern Open is divided into men's and women's singles and doubles competitions that take place over the course of a week. Since 2005, the men's tournament has been dominated by three participants, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick. Federer, who has won a slew of Grand Slams and is widely considered to be the best tennis player in the world, has had great success on the hard court of the Lindner Family Tennis Center and is expected to take his crown back from the 2011 winner Andy Murray.
On the women's side, the top winners in the singles category have been dominated by Russians, as Maria Sharapova, Nadia Petrova, Anna Chakvetadze and Vera Zvonareva have each won the tournament over the past five years. This year, Sharapova looks to defend her title against a group of talented newcomers and continue her quest to regain the top spot in the world rankings.
Whether spectators refer to it as the Cincinnati Masters or the Western and Southern Open, the event is truly one of the most unique sporting exhibitions in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is widely embraced by the city's residents.