The Western & Southern Open (currently sponsored by the Western & Southern Financial Group and formerly called the Cincinnati Masters) is an annual outdoor hardcourt tennis event held in Mason near Cincinnati, Ohio. The event started on September 18, 1899 and is the oldest tennis tournament in the United States played in its original city.The tournament is the second largest summer tennis event in the U.S. after the U.S. Open, as its men's portion is one of nine elite Masters 1000 tournaments on the ATP Tour and its women's event is one of five Premier 5 events on the WTA Tour.
|Western & Southern Open|
|Venue||Lindner Family Tennis Center|
|Surface||Hard (DecoTurf), Outdoors|
|Current champions (2019)|
|Men's singles||Daniil Medvedev|
|Women's singles||Madison Keys|
|Men's doubles|| Ivan Dodig |
|Women's doubles|| Lucie Hradecká |
The tournament was started in 1899 as the Cincinnati Open and was renamed in 1901 to Tri-State Tennis Tournament, a name it would keep until 1969 (it would later be known by several other names, including ATP Championships), and would eventually grow into the tournament now held in Mason. The original tournament was held at the Avondale Athletic Club, which sat on property that is now Xavier University, and would later be moved to several various locations due to changes in tournament management and surfaces. The first tournament in 1899 was played on clay courts (described in a newspaper article of the time as "crushed brick dust"), and the event was mostly played on clay until 1978 when it switched permanently to hardcourts.
In 1903, the tournament was moved to the Cincinnati Tennis Club, where it was primarily held until 1972. In 1974, the tournament was nearly dropped from the tennis calendar but moved at the last moment to the Cincinnati Convention Center, where it was played indoors and, for the first time since 1919, without a women's draw. In 1975, the tournament moved to the Coney Island amusement park on the Ohio River, and the tournament began to gain momentum again.
In 1975, the tournament reins were taken by Paul M. Flory, then an executive with Procter & Gamble. During his tenure, the tournament enriched its considerable heritage while donating millions of dollars to charity: to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Tennis for City Youth (a program to teach tennis to inner-city children), and to The Charles M. Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital. Flory was honored with the ATP's Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award, enshrinement in the USTA/Midwest Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame, and was named one of the Great Living Cincinnatians by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Flory began his involvement as a volunteer with the tournament in the late 1960s and remained a volunteer until the end, never accepting a salary. Flory, who was born on May 31, 1922, died on January 31, 2013, remaining tournament chairman until his final day.
In 1979 the tournament moved to Mason where a permanent stadium was built and the surface was changed from Har-Tru clay to hardcourt (DecoTurf II.). Later, two other permanent stadia were constructed, making the Cincinnati Masters the only tennis tournament outside the four Grand Slam events with three stadium courts – Center Court, Grandstand Court and Court 3. A new Court 3 was built in 2010, increasing the number of stadium courts to four, with the existing Court 3 renamed Court 9. The women's competition was reinstated in 1988 for one year, and then again in 2004 when the organizers, with the help of the Octagon sports agency, bought the Croatian Bol Ladies Open and moved it to Cincinnati.
In 2002, the tournament was sponsored for the first time by Western & Southern Financial Group, with the company continuing its sponsorship until at least 2016. In 2011 the men's and women's tournaments were played at the same time making a joint tournament. As a result, the name of the competition changed from the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open to the Western & Southern Open.
The tournament is played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, located in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio. It features a total of 17 courts, including four tennis stadiums—Center Court, Grandstand Court, Court 3, and Court 10 (formerly known as Court 3)—and among the few venues (e.g with Madrid Open) other than Grand Slams with more than two permanent stadiums.
In 2009, the tennis tournament announced a $10 million upgrade to the facility, including the construction of a 52,000 square feet (4,800 m2) West Building to add space for players, media and fans. The new building, which opened in mid-2010 and is named the Paul M. Flory Player Center, is approximately twice as high as the previous West Building, rising 85 feet (26 m) above ground level and 97 feet (30 m) above the court level.
In 2010, the tournament announced plans to expand the grounds by more than 40% and add six new courts. One of those courts is Court 3, which serves as the third television court, while another court has seating for 2,500. A new ticket office, entry plaza, food court and exhibit areas also were added.
In June 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was announced that the tournament would be temporarily relocated to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, in order to reduce unnecessary player travel by centralizing the tournament and the U.S. Open at one venue.
The venue hosts additional events including the Atlantic 10 Conference Tennis Championships, the Ohio Athletic Conference Tennis Championships, and both the boys' and girls' OHSAA state tennis championships, and has hosted an Association of Volleyball Professionals event, concerts, charitable events, and numerous regional and national junior tennis events.
The Cincinnati Masters are known as one of the more intimate environments as far as player-fan interactions go. Because the tournament is significantly smaller than the U.S. Open, many people come to see the players up close and likely will get an autograph from at least one of the athletes if they really try to. Players have occasionally been seen walking from court to court among the crowds of people who flock to see them play.
- The 1979 men's competition, despite being named the 1979 ATP Championships was a non-Grand Prix event not bringing any ATP ranking points and was run as a rival event to the 1979 U.S. Pro Tennis Championships in Boston.
Men's doubles (open era)Edit
Women's doubles (open era)Edit
|Most titles||Roger Federer||7|
|Most finals||Roger Federer||8|
|Most consecutive titles|| Raymond D. Little
| Beals Wright|
| Robert LeRoy|
| Bobby Riggs|
|Most consecutive finals|| Bill Talbert
|Most matches played||Roger Federer||57|
|Most matches won||Roger Federer||47|
|Most consecutive matches won||Bobby Riggs||21|
|Most editions played||Roger Federer||17|
|Most times seeded No. 1
|Best winning %||Bryan Grant||100%|
|Youngest champion||Boris Becker||17y, 8m, 29d|
|Oldest champion||Ken Rosewall||35y, 8m, 19d|
|1948 (64 games)|
|2011 (13 games)|
|Most titles||Ruth Sanders Cordes||5|
|Clara Louise Zinke|
|Most consecutive titles|| May Sutton
| Ruth Sanders Cordes|
| Clara Louise Zinke|
|Most consecutive finals|| Clara Louise Zinke
|Most times seeded No. 1
- Cordes' titles are considered consecutive since the 1921 edition was suspended.
|Most titles||Daniel Nestor||5|
|Most titles||Clara Louise Zinke||6|
|Most consecutive titles||Martha Kinsey||4|
|Clara Louise Zinke|
- Overall records include combined totals of singles and doubles events:
|Most titles||Raymond D. Little||11||Clara Louise Zinke||12|
|Most finals||Bill Talbert||14||Clara Louise Zinke||18|
- "Western & Southern Open". www.cincytennis.com. USTA.
- From Club Court to Center Court by Phillip S. Smith, page 3 (2008 Edition; ISBN 978-0-9712445-7-3).
- "Cincinnati tournament changes name". www.atpworldtour.com. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball, citybeat.com, August 2, 2001. Archived August 4, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- USTA buying Cincinnati men’s stop
- "Cincinnati renews title sponsor through 2014". www.atpworldtour.com. ATP. April 23, 2012.
- "Cincinnati expansion plans". Press release. ATP. 2010-08-21. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
- Baum, Dave Clark and Adam. "The 2020 Western & Southern Open will be played in New York this summer". The Enquirer. Retrieved 2020-07-26.
- Smith, Philip (2010). Eric Duncan (ed.). From Club Court to Center Court (PDF). pp. 53–64. ISBN 0-9712445-8-8. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cincinnati Masters.|
- Official tournament website
- The Cincinnati Enquirer's Special Section on the Tournament's 100th Anniversary (1999)
- Cincinnati Enquirer Article on Paul Flory (1999)
- Facts on Paul Flory from Cincinnati Enquirer Article (1999)
- Cincinnati Enquirer Article on The 25 Best Matches Of The Tournament's First 25 Years in Mason (August 6, 2004)