Western and Southern Open. The Cincinnati Tournament History

by: TennisMood August 17, 2016 329

Western and Southern Open. The Cincinnati Tournament History

An annual outdoor hardcourt tennis event The Cincinnati Masters is the oldest tennis tournament in the United States and has its great Cincinnati History. The first game was held on September 18, 1899 in Mason. Today it takes place also in Mason, Ohio, USA . But they made a really great job to be where they are now.

The Cincinnati Masters is one of the greatest summer tennis event in the U.S. after the U.S. Open. Its men’s portion joins nine elite Masters 1000 tournaments on the ATP World Tour and its women’s event is an important part of Premier 5 events on the WTA Tour.

Cincinnati History

The Cincinnati Open was the first name of the famous tennis tournament that was founded in 1899. Though in 1901 it was renamed and for the next 70 years it was known as Tri-State Tennis Tournament. Changing its names, places and surfaces, it developed to become that large. The first tournament was observed at the Avondale Athletic Club. Today Xavier University own that place. The tournaments in 1899 were held on clay courts. Journalists called that court “crushed brick dust”. Most tennis tournaments of that time were kept on clay. Only in 1979 clay was surrogated to hardcourts.

From 1903 to 1972 the tournament was located at the Cincinnati Tennis Club. The tournament was about to fall out of the tennis list in 1974 but it stayed there and changed its location. The Cincinnati Convention Center became a new home where tennis was played indoors. Then in a year, the tournament moved again. This time it went to the Coney Island amusement park, and from that moment the tournament progressed a lot.

From 1975, the tournament was led by Paul M. Flory, the representative of Procter & Gamble. At the time when Flory was the head, the tournament grew and gave its millions to charity, to hospitals and teaching centers: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Tennis for City Youth, and to The Charles M. Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital. Flory was awarded with the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award and got enshrinement in the USTA/Midwest Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame. He was called the Great Living Cincinnatians by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. Flory was a volunteer at the beginning of his work with the tournament in 1960s and for all the time that he was working there he has never asked for a salary. Flory died on January 31, 2013.He remained a tennis tournament head till his last breath.

The most important tournament of the men’s Grand Prix Tennis Tour and part of the Grand Prix Super Series took place between 1978 and 1989. Finally a special stadium was build for tennis tournament with a new hardcourt surface in Mason in 1979. The tournament moved there. In several years the Cincinnati Masters became the only tennis tournament besides the four Grand Slam events which had three stadium courts. They were named: Center Court, Grandstand Court and Court 3. A new Court was finished soon. So by that time the stadium contained four courts. That fact gave the organizers an opportunity to revive women’s competition in 1988. First just for one year but then they made it permanent from 2004. Together with the Octagon sports agency, the organizers were already able to buy the Croatian Bol Ladies Open and finally they took it to Cincinnati.

The United States Tennis Association, who was the owner of the US Open, bought the men’s tournament in August 2008.
For the first time in 2002, the tournament got money from Western and Southern Financial Group. This company used to be their main sponsor for more then 10 years. As a result of their cooperation in 2011 the men’s and women’s tournaments could make a joint tournament. So it got a new name. It was the Western and Southern Open instead of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open.

Western and Southern Open Venue

The Lindner Family Tennis Center is today the place where the tournament is held. It is situated in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio. 16 courts and four tennis stadiums: Center Court, Grandstand Court, Court 3 and Court 9 belongs to Cincinnati Tournament. The fact that it has more then two permanent stadiums makes it a unique place outside of the Grand Slams.

In 2009, the tennis tournament told about a grate modernization that would be done. The organizers planed that it would take about $10 million. They wanted to make a West Building of a 52,000 square feet. So the players, journalists and fans would feel comfortable. Its height would be 85 feet above the ground. The construction has not been finished yet but it has already had a name. It is the Paul M. Flory Player Center.

The organizers of the tournament are planning to enlarge its territory by more than 40% and they also plan to have six new courts. One of them is a television court. They say they need a new ticket office, entry plaza, food court and exhibit areas too.

The stadiums of the Cincinnati Masters are suitable for many additional events such as: the Atlantic 10 Conference Tennis Championships and the Ohio Athletic Conference Tennis Championships, an Association of Volleyball Professionals event, concerts, charitable events, and national high school tennis events.

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