At the beginning of the history
Cincinnati Tennis history began in 1899: As the name of the Cincinnati tennis tournament indicates, Cincinnati Open welcomes players from around the country, unlike some state tournaments, which could accept only local participants. The event is held at the Avondale Athletic Club, whose territory now belongs to Xavier University.
The Cincinnati tournament set a record from the very beginning, with a number of players larger than at the 1899 US National Championships. Only in men’s singles, 36 players tested the field of ‘elastic clay and brick dust’, and Nat Emerson wins Rookwood ale set. Women’s singles champion Myrtle McAteer gets Rookwood vase. These trophies could bring some $10,000 on to-day auction. Other notable players pointed up by media are Juliette Atkinson, future Hall of Famer, and Edith Parker, regarded as one of ‘the first four women [tennis] experts in the country’. The whole week of the event appears to be a real boom with a 2,000 attendance on the final day.
1900: McAteer retains her championship both in singles and doubles. In men’s draw Raymond D. Little (the international champion from New York), Nat Emerson (Ohio State Championship winner), and Fred Alexander of New York (he shared with Little the Western section doubles championship) are participating. These are players who reach semifinals, with John Roche of Chicago. Meanwhile, the tournament goes on receiving compliments: Wright & Ditson’s Lawn Tennis Guide underlines the convenient location of the complex, resembling amphitheater, which makes a spectacle even more exciting.
1901: The event starts as the “Tri-State Tennis Tournament” and gets the most splendid at that time trophy in the United States: the “Governor’s Bowl” in honor of the board of governors of the Avondale Athletic Club. A heavy, gold-lined bowl decorated with embossed grapevines and Bacchus’s heads. Today it would cost nearly $12,000. For the first time men’s singles player, Raymond D. Little, defends his title.
Winona Closterman defeats Juliette Atkinson, future Hall of Famer, who teams with Marion Jones to win her second doubles title. Closterman also wins in mixed doubles.
1902: This year, a challenge round format is introduced, which allows the singles champion from the previous year to play against this year’s champion only after the tournament is over. The event becomes open to a wider range of players, with E.R. Patterson of Canada. In men’s singles, Raymond D. Little confirms his title by beating Kreigh Collins in the challenge round (3-6, 6-8, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2), first singles match to go five sets in the tournament history. Having reached to the final of the round, Reuben Hunt of California gets beaten by Collins. Joe Hunt will follow in his father’s footsteps and be cherished in the Tennis Hall of Fame. In men’s doubles, five sets are played for the first time, in which Nat Emerson and Emie Diehl beat Royal Miller and Lincoln Mitchell, 3-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.
Winona Closterman proceeds to the final in both the doubles and singles, however, she gets beaten by Maud Banks of Philadelphia in singles and by Banks and Hallie Champlin in doubles.
1903: The tournament is held at the Cincinnati Tennis Club, located at the corner of Wold and Dexter Avenues in East Walnut Hills. It is one of the oldest clubs in the US, still active nowadays from its foundation in 1880. After triumph on the 32-man field Kreigh Collins wins the title in the final battle against Raymond D. Little, which caused such agiotage that there is no empty room among standing audience. The best of five sets format is now applied to every match of men’s doubles.
In 1912, this rule will be changed, and only the semifinals and finals will be best-of-five (similarly, only finals were held in such way in the past).
In women’s singles, Myrtle McAteer of Pittsburgh falls to Winona Closterman, who gets her consecutive title and a prize in the form of a ‘silver-handled silken parasol’ in addition. Second prize, a ‘silver belt’, departs with McAteer.
1904: Kreigh Collins drops out of tennis events for the rest of the year because of illness. Two southpaws, Beals Wright of Boston and L. Harry Waidner of Chicago, converge in a battle for the men’s singles title, which goes to Wright. The Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Commercial Tribune acknowledge the Tri-State Tournament as the second most important after U.S Open and the largest tennis event of its kind due to the enormous number of prominent players shown up.
Wright & Ditson’s Tennis Annual claims Cincinnati to be one of the main tennis centers in the U.S. By the way, George Wright (whose name we see in the title) was a co-founder of Cincinnati Reds baseball club in 1869. His sons, Beals Wright and Irving C. Wright, would contribute greatly to the tennis world: Beals would constantly win the tournament between 1904 and 1906, and Irving would capture the mixed doubles title and proceed to the doubles finals in 1907.
1905: Perhaps the warmest salutes Cincinnati has ever earned since grand 1899. It obviously dominates in the West. Its popularity is growing as best players join the event. Guests witness May Sutton’s performances, who decided to complete in Cincinnati instead of participating in U.S. Championships which she won in 1904. She takes the women’s title just after Wimbledon triumph, losing just one game in six matches, including the Challenge Round.
Both men’s titles are doubled – Beals Wright holds the singles, and Robert LeRoy of New York and Raymond D. Little confirm the doubles.
In all, more than 124 matches were played, and nearly 5 thousand of people attended the event, including George Wright, Beal and Irving’s father, who found the Cincinnati Reds in 1869.
1906: Waiting for the week was like a real fever pitch: among 180 participating players (a record that is worthy the largest tournament in the history of lawn tennis) Sutton sisters, May and Florence, had to compete in the same event. There was not enough room to place everyone willing to watch the competition. Florence lost to her sister both in singles and in doubles. May was given a valuable prize to keep for the year. Unfortunately, she placed the trophy in a car – and since that time the prize is lost and gone forever, instead of being handed on to future winners or to May, in case she won the title once again.
In men’s singles, Beals Wright beat Raymond D. Little and appropriated the third leg of the Governor’s Bowl (according to the tradition, the prize goes into full ownership of the champion, if he or she wins three times, not necessarily consecutive). Karl Behr of New York captivated the audience with his playing style; he managed to proceed to semifinals in the singles and won the doubles title in a team with Raymond D. Little.
A newly married couple, Nicholas Longworth, Ohio Congressman, and his wife Alice Roosevelt were usual guests during the week. Alice, who met every President since her father Theodore Roosevelt took her to the White House at the age of six, was called the ‘ambulatory Washington monument’. She was famous for the sincerity of opinion, specific humor, and beauty.
1907: A new, the Charles DeCamp bowl, is made for the men’s singles prize. The silver bowl weighs 17.11 pounds and costs $500 (nearly $12,000 today). Its name is given after the tournament’s correspondence secretary.
May Sutton takes the Ladies Trophy, as she wins the third women’s title. Teaming with Irving C. Wright, she wins the mixed doubles prize as well.
The event was visited by 6,000 people altogether. The final day brought 2,000-attendance. The tournament, considering past experience, added 800 seats.
1908: 160 players are welcomed. Ruth Sanders, the future holder of five singles titles, takes the first step to the fame. The number of guests is approaching 3,000 on the men’s final day.
1909: The first non-American woman, Edith Hannam, wins the title in women’s singles (she came from Canada, also had British citizenship). Robert LeRoy takes away the DeCamp Bowl by winning his third tournament title. Nat Emerson, who won the 1899 tournament and was ranked No. 7, leaves the event after the semifinals; ironically, it was also his seventh appearance here.
1910: Famous Tiffany’s creates a new trophy for the tournament, the “Cincinnati Trophy”, a bowl which costs nearly $12,000 today). The prize is sponsored by James Norris Gamble and William Cooper Procter. Gamble is the son of Procter & Gamble founder James Gamble. A competent chemist, he created a cheap white soap, equal in quality to the imported product. Procter is a grandson of founder William Procter and the company president until 1930. Under his rule P & G becomes international. Earlier Gamble contributed to building tennis courts in west Cincinnati, where future singles champion Ruth Sanders trained.
Four Hall of Famers’ names (Clarence Griffin, William Johnston, Bill Tilden and Lott) and US Davis Cupper (John Hennessey) will be engraved on the bowl.
1911: The men’s singles title goes to southpaw Richard Palmer of New Jersey, who defeated Richard Bishop of Boston. Hazel Hotchkiss defaults in the first round of the women’s singles.
1912: When the Titanic crashed, two future tennis stars were on board. One of them, Karl Behr, was following his beloved Helen Monypeny Newsom, whose mother decided to move to Europe in order to destroy the relationship. After Behr organized the rescue (all three remained alive) on a lifeboat, Mrs. Newsom changed her mind, and the couple married 11 months after the tragedy.
Richard Norris Williams II paid a higher price. After the ship started sinking, he jumped into the cold water and hang on an insecure raft for six hours, freezing below the waist. A doctor from Carpathia proposed amputation of legs, but Williams denied. He managed to restore his health doing exercises to get the normal blood circulation. After few weeks he was already training on a court. In three months he was already able to take part in the Cincinnati tournament.
Gustave Touchard of New York defeats Richard Palmer of New Jersey in the Challenge Round of the men’s singles, after winning over Reuben Holden in the main tournament. In women’s singles, May Sutton overcomes Mary K. Browne with a score 6-2, 6-2. In the following Challenge Round defending Marjorie Dodd beats Sutton. Future Hall of Famer Lois Moyes teams with Browne to take the prize in the women’s doubles against Emiline Holmes and May Sutton.
1913: Young Ruth Sanders, a teacher from Cincinnati, who became a champion at the University of Cincinnati (graduated in 1912), wins her first title of future five. In men’s singles, William S. McEllroy of Pittsburgh comes out as a winner.
1914: As long as the Tri-State tournament represents the three-state championship, it is appropriate to hold it in other two states. For the first time since the foundation, the event changes the location and moves to Indianapolis, while in Cincinnati the National Clay Court Championship takes place. The Tri-State champions are William S. McEllroy and Ruth Sanders. Clarence “Peck” Griffin and Mary K. Browne conquer the national clay court.
1915: Mostly unknown in the US, Molla Bjurstedt from Norway quickly grabs general attention by participating in many tennis events. In the tournament, she loses only 15 games out of six matches. In the final, she defeats Ruth Sanders 6-0, 6-4.
In men’s singles, William Johnston, Clarence Griffin, and Irving Wright are participating. To complete the tournament, Maurice McLoughlin and Elia Fottrell pair to play an exhibition match against Johnston and Griffin.
1916: William Johnston, called “Little Bill”, wins the singles and the doubles (paired with Clarence Griffin) titles. Johnston would play against him in the Challenge Round, but Griffin rejected competing with the close friend without explaining.
Willis Davis (regarded as ranked world No.10) gets to the final and teams with Dean Mathey of Princeton, proceeding to the doubles final. The women’s title departs with Martha Guthrie of Pittsburgh, who beats Margaret “Ruth” Davis of St. Paul.
James Gamble Nippert, the grandson of James Norris Gamble of P & G, drops out after the first round but finds consolation in playing football for the University of Cincinnati. However, in 1923 he receives a spike wound injury, which causes blood poisoning, and dies a month later. The stadium in which he played was dedicated to him and renamed.
1917: Indianapolis holds the event for the second time. Like before, Cincinnati receives the National Clay Court Patriotic Championships (renamed on request of the U.S. Secretary of War). The event helps to raise $2,699.99 (some $54,000 in today’s currency), the sum that will be sent to supply ambulance service in France. Ruth Sanders gets the women’s singles crown, the women’s doubles title and the mixed doubles too, teaming with her fiancé, Howard Cordes. Charles Garland of Pittsburgh falls to Sam Hardy of Chicago in men’s singles.
In the Tri-State tournament, Fritz Bastian of Indianapolis and Katharine Brown become the champions.
1919: For the third time Indianapolis welcomes the tournament, while Cincinnati becomes the place for carrying out the National Sectional Doubles Championships. In the Tri-State tournament, Fritz Bastian confirms the title by beating John Hennessey, future Davis Cup player of Indianapolis. Alfred Weller and Paul Voris get the title in the men’s doubles. For the first time, there is no women’s draw.
In the National Sectional Doubles Championship the Eastern team, consisting of Bill Tilden, Vincent Richards, S. Howard Voshell, and Itchya Kumagae, plays against the Western one, formed of William Johnston, Sam Hardy, Robert Kinsey and Axel Graven. The East defeats 6-3.
1920: The tournament moves to Indiana again, this time to Ft. Wayne. John Hennessey and Ruth Sanders Cordes are champions.
1921: The event is put off for the year.
1922: The tournament is held in its native Cincinnati. Louis Kuhler and Ruth Sanders Cordes take the titles in singles. Reuben Holden and H. Truxtun Emerson defeat brothers Ray and Paul Kunkel in the doubles. The prizes presented to the winners are donated by Louis J. Tuke, Judge R.K. LeBlond, John LeBlond and George H. Phillips.
1923: Clara Louise Zinke appears in the tournament and proceeds to the singles finals.
On August 2, between 4 and 5 p.m. the tournament is stopped as President Warren G. Harding died of a stroke. Players and fans honor him and keep silence for two minutes. Then Ruth Sanders Cordes, a tournament finalist, sings ‘Lead, Kindly Light’, Harding’s favorite hymn. At 5 p.m. the match goes on.
Because of a rain, the semifinals finals are postponed for five days, and the finals are played the next Saturday, which makes this tournament the longest in the history of the event. Louis Kuhler gets the singles title by defeating Paul Kunkel.
1924: Chicagoan George Lott gets his first singles title and together with Jack Harris wins the doubles title in the match against Charles Garland of Pittsburgh and Paul Kunkel. Louis Kuhler proceeds to the quarterfinals to defend the title, but loses to Julius Sagalowsky. The chance to conquer the third title would evade Kuhler. He dies in March of the next year.
1925: George Lott of Chicago gets the second title both in the singles and doubles. The women’s singles crown belongs to Marion Leighton. Reuben Holden, a former NCAA champion, is a finalist in the doubles.
1926: The event is carried out at the Hyde Park Tennis Club. Two future Hall of Famers converge in the men’s final, and Bill Tilden defeats George Lott. The men’s doubles crown goes to Francisco Aragon and Guillermo Aragon, Davis Cuppers from Philippine.
1927: The event is held at the Cincinnati Tennis Club. Ranked No. 3 in the U.S., George Lott takes away the “Cincinnati Trophy” after winning the third title.
After turning pro in 1936, Lott becomes a winner at a pro tournament in White Sulpher Springs, held at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. He is said to have lost many winnings at the local Casino. Taking advantage of the moment, tournament officials decide to return the bowl.
For the first time, the players are seeded. The men’s seeds: 1) Lott (Chicago); 2) Emmett Paré (Chicago); 3) Jose Alonso (captain of the Spanish Davis Cup team in the past, now in Philadelphia); 4) Paul Kunkel (Cincinnati); 5) Ray Kunkel (Cincinnati); 6) Sidney Meyers (Cincinnati); 7) Ellis Flax (Cincinnati); 8) Archie McCallum (Cincinnati); 9) Willard Beckman (Cincinnati); 10) Ellis Klingeman (Chicago). The list of foreign seeded players is compiled separately: 1) Charles Leslie (Toronto); 2) Brian Doherty (Montreal); 3) Lorn McLean (Toronto). Women’s seeds are: 1) Marion Leighton (Chicago); 2) Clara Louise Zinke (Cincinnati); 3) Ruth Riese (Saginaw, Michigan); 4) Olga Strashun Weil (Cincinnati); 5) Margarite Kommenda (Chicago); 6) Helen Canfield (Detroit); 7) Marion Pearson (Detroit).
The idea of seeding emerged at Wimbledon and was introduced in 1924 to set apart the best players in the draw, thus somehow ensuring their success. Later in 1927 the U.S. National Championships adopted the practice as well.
On the women’s side, Clara Louise Zinke defeats top-seeded Marion Leighton (No. 1 in the Western section and No. 20 in the United States). Apart from the main trophy, other prizes, sponsored by businesses and individuals, are given to players, for example, bronze or silver cups and figures.
1928: The men’s title goes to Emmett Paré of Chicago, and Marjorie “Midge” Gladman of Santa Monica, California, gets the women’s title. Cincinnatian Ruth Oexman gets her first of five doubles titles of the tournament in pair with Clara Louise Zinke, ranked U.S. No. 2 as a junior. Rain forces the tournament officials to move the event to the Cincinnati Indoor Tennis Club.
This year the tournament trophy is named after Wilfred M. Tyler, who had been an officer of the Ohio Lawn Tennis Association and left $500 in his will to pay for a new trophy if needed.
1929: The tournament director is Taylor Stanley. Julius Seligson of Lehigh, the 1928 national collegiate champion and the No. 9 in the U.S., falls to Herbert Lee Bowman of New York. Clara Louise Zinke of Cincinnati gets her third singles title.
1930: Frank Shields of New York comes out as a winner in the men’s singles. On the women’s side, Clara Louise Zinke proceeds to the finals and beats Ruth Riese of Saginaw, Michigan. 14-years old Frank Parker of Milwaukee, future Hall of Famer, gets the junior title. He will win the tournament men’s title in 1941.
1931: The men’s singles prize goes to Cliff Sutter of New Orleans, who defeats Bruce Barnes. Cliff is a descendant of John Sutter, who was operating the mill on the American Fork in 1848 when gold was found there and the Gold Rush started the next year.
Bill Tilden beats Karel Kozeluh, who is regarded as the “world champion of the professionals”, 8-6, 6-3.
1932: Dorothy Weisel Hack, No. 11 in the country, defeats Clara Louise Zinke in women’s singles. On men’s side, final features Hall of Famers, when U.S. No. 2 George Lott beats 16 years old Frank Parker.
1933: The audience witnesses the third all-Hall-of-Famer final in men’s singles. Bryan Grant defeats Frank Parker. Rain changes the plans again and the men’s doubles finish at the Chicago Town & Tennis Club. After moving to the Windy City, Bryan Grant, and Fred Mercur finish their match against Robert “Lefty” Bryan and John McDiarmid with a victory, 2-6, 7-5, 12-14, 6-4.
1934: Kenwood Country Club welcomes the tournament. The semifinals feature Marcel Rainville of Montreal, future Canadian Tennis Hall of Famer. Top-tenner Henry Prusoff of Seattle beats another top-tenner Arthur Hendrix of Lakeland, Florida, in the men’s singles. On the women’s side, Gracyn Wheeler takes away the main prize as Dr. Esther Bartosh, who is claimed to be the queen of the Los Angeles courts, defaults because of illness. Poor weather conditions make the officials move the competition to the Cincinnati Tennis Club. The men’s and women’s doubles final are resolved by a coin flip.
1935: Great Depression makes the tournament be suspended for this year.
1936: Bobby Riggs of Los Angeles celebrates the first step out of four singles titles in the event by defeating Charles Harris of West Palm Beach. The women’s crown departs with Lila Porter of Mobile, Alabama.
1937: Top seed Riggs confirms the title by defeating John McDiarmid of Chicago, who later join Eugene McCauliff to win their consecutive doubles title – and they are the first to do so since 1901. Such achievement will not be repeated until 2006 by Max Mirnyi and Jonas Bjorkman.
1938: The third title, and the third consecutive – this is Riggs’s reign indeed, after which he retires the Wilfred M. Tyler Bowl, exhibited now at the Bobby Riggs Tennis Club in San Diego. The men’s final is the fourth all-Hall-of-Famer one.
1939: The second “Cincinnati Trophy” appeared at the tournament. It was donated by Charles Tobias and would be inscribed with six prominent names: Bryan Grant, Bobby Riggs, Frank Parker, Pancho Segura, Bill Talbert and Clarence D. “Nick” Carter. In the fifth all-Hall-of-Famer match, Frank Parker bows to Bryan Grant.
1940: Alice Marble and Bobby Riggs celebrate the championships, after top-seeded Riggs defeats Arthur Marx of Los Angeles, and Gracyn Wheeler loses to Marble. The men’s doubles title goes to Charles Hare, British Davis Cupper, who teams with Riggs, after victory over Frank Froehling and Ron Lubin. Mary Arnold joins Marble to win the women’s doubles title. In the fourth round, Riggs defeats Jimmy Evert, whose daughter Chris Evert will be the 1973 singles finalist.
1941: In the sixth all-Hall-of-Famer men’s final Frank Parker defeats Bill Talbert, while Pauline Betz gains the women’s singles crown. In women’s doubles, Doris Hart is a finalist. On the men’s side in doubles, Parker and Gene Mako teams to win the title.
1942: The first non-American, who takes the men’s singles title in the tournament, Pancho Segura, defeats Bill Talbert of Cincinnati. For the seventh time, the final is the meeting of two future Hall of Famers. The doubles title goes to Fred Kovaleski and Segura, who beat Talbert and Robert Smidl. That year Smidl will join the Army and be killed during the war.
Again, the event is called “Patriotic” due to the decision to raise money for the support of the Emergency War Relief Fund. In all, $1,300 is raised and given to the fund.
In the mixed doubles, Philadelphians William Vogt and Peggy Welsh become the champions. The mixed draft will not be played until 1999 when all-mixed doubles will be introduced.
1943: William Talbert wins the singles title by defeating Seymour Greenberg and (with Al Bunis of Cincinnati) gets the doubles title. Pauline Betz defeats Catherine Wolf in women’s singles and takes the crown in women’s doubles, teaming with Nancy Corbett.
$800 is raised and given to the USO ($11,000 in today’s currency), and even more is promised to be sent.
1944: Dorothy Bundy, daughter of May Sutton, wins the women’s singles by beating 17 years old Shirley Fry. Pancho Segura defeats William Talbert (9-11, 6-2, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5) and gets his second Cincinnati title. Again, over $1,500 ($20,000 today) is passed to the Navy League.
Gloria Thompson is a finalist in doubles. Later she will unite with Segura in teaching a super-talented player, her son, who will become widely known as Jimmy Connors.
The No. 1 junior in the Ohio Valley Tennis Association George Ratterman causes shock among guests as he loses to Leonard Schiff of Columbus, 8-6, 6-3 (at that time Ratterman was recovering from food poisoning). Later in 1954, Ratterman wears his “electrified helmet” when playing in the NFL against the Detroit Lions. Using this device, he is able to hear the Cleveland Browns coach’s advice from the sideline.
1945: The most stars gathered on the women’s field, with Pauline Betz (No. 1), Dorothy Bundy (No. 4 in the U.S.) and Sarah Palfrey Cooke (ranked No. 1 this year) and others. Bill Talbert and Elwood Cooke, seeded No. 1 and No. 2, are participating. Due to the lack in the men’s draw because of the war, Palfrey Cooke asks to join her husband, Elwood Cooke, and becomes the only woman to play in a men’s draw ever. As a result, she loses in a women’s singles match, but that day (June 28) brings her victory in both – men’s and women’s – doubles matches. Talbert becomes the winner in the match against Cooke, and Betz wins the singles prize for the third time. Palfrey Cooke and Bundy take the women’s doubles title, and in the final Talbert and Lt. Hal Surface defeat the Cookes.
The fifth “Patriotic” tennis event helps to raise and pass to the Navy League $1,000, which equals to $13,000 in today’s currency.
Cincinnati Tennis History: Post-War Period
1946: Clarence D. “Nick” Carter of San Francisco takes the singles and the doubles titles (teaming with Norman Brooks). Virginia Kovacs defeats Shirley Fry in the women’s singles. Earl Cochell, beaten by Carter in the quarterfinals, becomes the only player banned from tennis for life because of his disgusting conduct on the court.
1947: The second “Cincinnati Trophy” is retired by Talbert, who would give it back to the tournament later. Until that time, the “Boyd B. Chambers Memorial Trophy”, named after perished in World War II tennis player, serves as a prize.
Betty Hulbert bows to Betty Rosenquest in the women’s singles.
1948: Herbert Behrens defeats Pancho Gonzalez and Irvin Dorfman (No. 2 seed) en route to the title. In the women’s singles, Dorothy Head of Alameda gains the title on her 23rd birthday.
1949: The “Golden Anniversary” event is held as the tournament turns 50 years. An addition is brought, a qualifier tournament, which is played before the main draw. As almost always, rain interrupts the play. In men’s singles, James Brink becomes the champion, while Magda Rurac takes the women’s title. She will be called the “greatest Romanian female tennis player” ever.
1950: Unseeded Hamilton “Ham” Richardson of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, loses to Glenn Bassett, who is seeded No.3, while the U.S. No. 8 Beverly Baker overcomes defending Magda Rurac in the women’s singles.
1951: The ninth all-future-Hall-of-Famer final finishes by Tony Trabert’s victory over William Talbert, his mentor. Then they team to win the doubles.
Magda Rurac almost takes the prize – but loses to Pat Canning Todd in the final. Todd also wins the doubles title with Dorothy Head.
1952: Noel Brown of Los Angeles becomes a champion in both the singles and doubles, and Anita Kanter of San Francisco wins in the women’s singles. After this tournament, a Davis Cup tie is carried out at the Cincinnati Tennis Club, where the US wins against Japan (5-0) with players William Talbert, Tony Trabert, Art Larsen, Gardner Mulloy and Vic Seixas.
1953: After discharging from the Navy, Tony Trabert wins in the men’s singles by defeating Ham Richardson. Australian Thelma Coyne Long upsets Anita Kanter of San Francisco. The highest attendance featured the match between Jack Kramer and Frank Sedgman this year, nearly 5,000 guests.
1954: Straight Clark of Philadelphia, Davis Cup player and the U.S. No. 5, takes the singles title by beating Sam Giammalva of Houston, Texas. Ethel Norton of San Antonio, Texas, bows to the U.S. No. 13 Lois Felix of Meriden, Connecticut, in the women’s singles final. The tournament director is Tom Price, who proceeded to the quarterfinals in 1938.
1955: The Western Tennis Association and the Cincinnati Tennis Club unite to play both Western Tennis Championship and the Tri-State at the CTC.
In the women’s singles, 16-year-old Mimi Arnold of Redwood City wins the title. Rain interrupts the men’s singles play, which is completed on September 13 when Bartzen defeats Trabert. Guests get upset as Hall of Famer Alex Olmedo loses to Allen Quay in the second round.
1956: Alex Olmedo gets beaten by second-seeded Eddie Moylan of Trenton, New Jersey. Despite being considered the greatest clay court player, Bartzen is knocked off by Moylan 6-0, 6-3, 6-3. On the women’s side, Yola Ramirez of Mexico City wins the title. Richard Raskind, who would later become Rene Richards after a sex-change operation, proceeds to the third round in singles but loses to Pancho Contreres.
1957: The men’s title goes to the U.S. No. 5 Bernard “Tut” Bartzen, who overcomes Grant Golden (No.10) of Wilmette, Illinois. Pat Naud of San Mateo, California (No. 2), loses to Lois Felix of Meriden, Connecticut (the U.S. No. 14).
1958: Bartzen takes the third title and retires the Boyd B. Chambers Memorial Bowl. In the women’s singles, Gwyn Thomas (No. 5 in the U.S.) wins the title.
1959: Whitney Reed beats Donald Dell, which repeats their intercollegiate battle (San Jose State VS Yale respectively). Donna Floyd of Virginia defeats Carol Hanks of St. Louis. In men’s doubles, the top-seeded pair of Grand Golden and Reed loses to the unseeded John Powless and John Skogstad.
1960: The second non-American player, who wins the men singles title in the tournament, is Miguel Olvera of Ecuador (he beats 10th-seeded Crawford Henry of Georgia). He also sets another record by being the only unseeded man to become a champion in the Tri-State.
The only unseeded player in women’s singles, Carol Hanks of St. Louis, defeats Farel Footman of San Francisco. Before the tournament, a pro-tour event is held, named after Jack Kramer, which features Tony Trabert, Ashley Cooper, Lew Hoad and Alex Olmedo. Hoad defeats Trabert 9-7, 7-5, Cooper beats Olmedo 6-2, 6-2 in the singles. In doubles, Trabert and Olmedo lose to Hoad and Cooper.
1961: Bobby Riggs enters the tournament once again – however, he is knocked off in the second round. Bill Lenior loses to Allen Fox in the singles, and Carole Caldwell (the U.S. No. 12) is upset by Peachy Kellmeyer of West Virginia.
1962: Marty Riessen defeats the first African American in the tournament, Arthur Ashe, and then overcomes defending Allen Fox to take the title. Top-seeded Roberta Alison of Alabama gets beaten by Julie Heldman.
1963: Marty Riessen of Hinsdale, Illinois, wins his second consecutive title by defeating Herbert Fitzgibbon, while Stephanie DeFina upsets Peaches Bartkowicz.
1964: The singles titles go to Herbert Fitzgibbon and Jean Danilovich. Cliff Buchholz is the only top-seeded player ever to lose the first match.
1965: The tournament finally added to its name the evident fact of being “International”. Paul Flory associates with the event as a volunteer helping in player recruitment and housing. A pro exhibition includes Rod Laver, Tony Trabert, Ken Rosewall and Barry MacKay.
1966: William Harris, the son of 1937 singles finalist Charles Harris, is upset by Dave Power of Ft. Collins, Colorado. In women’s singles, Peaches Bartkowicz of Detroit (No. 2) overcomes Peachy Kellmeyer (No. 1). Mimi Heinreid, the daughter of Paul Heinreid, who played in Casablanca, gets No. 4 seed.
Traditionally, the men’s final is postponed due to weather conditions, and the doubles final is carried out in Indianapolis. A new format of scoring (Van Alen Simplified Scoring System) is introduced at the pro exhibition, where Lew Hoad, Ken Rosewall, Rod Laver and Pierre Barthes are participating.
1967: Cincinnati becomes a place for the first event combining amateurs and professionals, carrying out “Cincinnati Professional Tennis Championship” and Tri-State together. Spaniard Andres Gimeno beats Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, thus earning $2,850. Other outstanding names include Fred Stolle, Dennis Ralston, Alex Olmedo, Pancho Segura, Earl “Butch” Buchholz, Mal Anderson, Mike Davies, Pierre Barthes and Barry MacKay.
Among amateurs, the No. 3 foreign seed Joaquin Loyo-Mayo of Mexico City is the winner. Peaches Bartkowicz, No. 1 seed, defeats Patsy Rippy of Shawnee, Oklahoma, and becomes the owner of the second consecutive title. The play is carried out on hardcourts for the first time in tennis history.
1968: Tom Gorman of Seattle bows to Bill Harris, who got to the final in 1966. Linda Tuero, No. 2 seed of Metaire, Louisiana, upsets Tory Fretz. This tournament is the last one where only amateurs participate, as the USTA votes to allow Open tennis in February this year. Though the Open Era has already begun, it sets its rule in Cincinnati only the next playing season.
The Open Era
1969: At last the Open Era arrives and several changes as well. First of all, a money prize is added (total $17,500). The tournament also changes its name from the “Tri-State” to the Western Tennis Championships because of the Western Section of the USTA where it was held; in 1997 the section will be renamed “USTA/Midwest”.
Cliff Richey beats Allan Stone of Australia, getting $5,000. When a reporter told him that the enrichment was too quick (only 55 minutes on the court), Richey remarked, that it cost him 10 years of hard efforts to get to this moment.
On the women’s side, Lesley Turner Bowrey of Great Britain conquers the title and $500 by defeating Gail Sherriff Chanfreau of France. Chanfreau, who feels ill because of leg and stomach cramps, falls on the court. Though she leaves the match with someone’s help, she loses not a drop of fortitude.
1970: An additional contest, a tiebreak, is added to the tournament. Cliff Richey bows to Rosewall in the final after the longest tournament best-of-three-sets play resulted in 7-9, 9-7, 8-6. Rosie Casals, future Hall of Famer, defeats Nancy Richey, Cliff’s sister. The WTC director is J. Howard “Bumpy” Frazer, the only Ohioan to head the USTA (later).
1971: Amateur Stan Smith pockets $5,000 after winning in the men’s singles and donates the sum to the Davis Cup Fund. Teaming with Erik van Dillen, he also wins in the doubles. Virginia Wade takes the crown in women’s singles. Harold Solomon, who will become a champion in the future, gets to the quarterfinals. It is the last time when the event is held at the Cincinnati Tennis Club.
1972: The WTC, searching for wider possibilities, arrives at the Queen City Racquet Club in Sharonville, Ohio. Here, the first night match is played, when Onny Parun of New Zealand beats butch Seewagen of New York. The grand singles clash of two 19 years old southpaws and two future Hall of Famers, Jimmy Connors and Guillermo Vilas, results in Connors’s victory. It’s fascinating that everyone who becomes a champion this year is actually a future Hall of Famer. Margaret Court defeats Evonne Goolagong in the singles, and they together win the doubles title. In men’s, the doubles title is won by Frew McMillan and Bob Hewitt.
This special tournament features participating of five married couples (of Chile, Rhodesia, Australia and two of France).
1973: The event is carried out at the Queen City Racquet Club for the last time. Ilie Nastase, called “Nasty Nastase”, barges into the argument with the umpire. Nastase upsets Manuel Orantes 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Top-seed Chris Evert loses to Evonne Goolagong, 6-2, 7-5. After this play, Evert won’t lose 125 matches in a row, until getting beaten by Tracy Austin in the semifinals at Rome tournament.
Since the Cincinnati tournament main sponsor Robert Harpenau retired to Florida, the WTC is experiencing financial problems and holds an exhibition match before the event to raise money. It features Bobby Riggs, who plays against Al Bunis, who founded the first senior tennis tour, Bill Keating and Jack Twyman, University of Cincinnati basketball legend.
1974: All the matches are held indoors for the first time. Besides, the event is men-only, and it will be so for 14 years. It has got a new director, Jack Guggenheim, who is determined to make the tournament more financially successful. To attract players, the officials allocate $8,000 for the main prize, like the Kentucky event, whose budget is evidently larger ($100,000 against Cincinnatian $30,000), and which is held the same week. Thus Marty Riessen gets the title and the sum, and the finalist Bob Lutz pockets $4,500. Amateur finalists don’t obtain the money. Jack Kramer pointed out that the players have become better, even those who lose today – they are promising.
1975: The tournament gets six new courts at the Sunlite Swim and Tennis Club at Old Coney. Paul Flory, having become the director, enlists new sponsors (in the following year the number of individual sponsors will reach 50).Texan Sherwood Steward bows to Tom Gorman. The doubles final is interrupted by the rain and moved at the Eastern Hills Indoor Tennis Club. Cliff Drysdale and Phil Dent upset Marcello Lara and Joaquin Loyo-Mayo in the doubles.
1976: Roscoe Tanner defeats top seed Eddie Dibbs, and this title will be Tanner’s only professional clay court one. Erik van Dillen joins Stan Smith to triumph over Dibbs and Solomon.
1977: John McEnroe, aged 18, enters the Cincinnati for the first time and rushes through the draw despite four warnings for misbehavior. Nevertheless, he gets beaten in the quarters. Harold Solomon, seeded No. 3, dominates on the court, and only Tim Henman will participate from Great Britain next. At the exhibition match, Bjorn Borg wins $13,000 after beating Rod Laver 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
1978: Eddie Dibbs beats Raul Ramirez and gets the title. Ramirez finds consolation in winning the doubles title, teaming with Gene Mayer. An attractive innovation for players is introduced, cars to use during the event.
1979: Coming up new decade brings some changes. A new name, the “ATP Championship”, is given and the location is moved to Mason. The construction of a permanent stadium begins and a center court with temporary stands and three additional courts appear. For the first time, CBS is broadcasting the event (from 1982 USA Network will do this). The first session is attended by 5,100 people. A new trophy by Tiffany is presented and inscribed with the name of player Peter Fleming.
1980: The field is full of stars, including Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Guillermo Vilas, and the title goes to the Harold Solomon, who donates $1,000 to the Children’s Hospital.
1981: John McEnroe rules on the court, losing just one set in the week. He is the last player to win the tournament title with a wooden racquet. The draw also includes Stan Smith, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and Vitas Gerulaitis. The stadium is said to be built specifically for tennis tournaments, with 6,900 seating places.
1982: Ivan Lendl wins the only Cincinnati title in his career. John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Vitas Gerulaitis are also playing. Guy Forget of France proceeds to the quarterfinals as a qualifier. The doubles title goes to Peter Fleming and McEnroe. The stadium court’s capacity is increased to 7,586. The final two days is broadcasted by CBS.
1983: World No. 1 John McEnroe loses to fifth-ranked Mats Wilander, who becomes the youngest title holder at the tournament in the Open Era (at that time). Wilander gets his first title in the US and also his first hardcourt. USA Network becomes the tournament host broadcaster until 1990.
1984: Mats Wilander knocks out Jimmy Connors, seeded No. 2, and Anders Jarryd. The tournament gets the first presenting sponsor, Crush.
1985: 17 years old Boris Becker triumphantly enters the Cincinnati tournament and becomes its youngest champion in the Open Era, playing against Mats Wilander. This year features the first appearance of paid employee (earlier the event was run at the expense of volunteers).
1986: No.1 seeded Mats Wilander wins his third title by beating Jimmy Connors, seeded No. 2, and doesn’t even drop a set. The Grandstand Court is equipped with light, which makes night matches possible.
1987: Stefan Edberg crushes four seeded players en route to the title: Tarik Benhabiles, Brad Gilbert, Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker. Some improvements are introduced, like a new player lounge and locker room, training and whirlpool rooms, lavatories, a first-aid facility, offices, media rooms and private luxury suites. Thriftway Food & Drug becomes the first title sponsor, and Chiquita takes over presenting sponsorship.
1988: Mats Wilander gets the final title in the tournament by defeating Stefan Edberg. 16 years old Michael Chang becomes the youngest player to approach the quarters in the Open Era. The Pringles Light Classic, a women’s tournament, is carried out two weeks before but is not united with the Cincinnati tournament.
Several improvements and extensions were added, including a new road.
1989: Brad Gilbert, seeded No. 5, surprises the public as he defeats Stefan Edberg. En route to the victory he also knocks off Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Boris Becker, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5).
When the ATP Tour was formed, a large number of tournaments applied for becoming a part of it. Committee members of the Tour included Harold Solomon, Stan Smith, Zeljko Franulovic, Jaime Fillol and Ross Case.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame named Cincinnati (the first to be named so) “Tennis City of the Year”. The event turned out to bring $10 million to the local economy annually.
1990: The shortest men’s singles match ever in the Open Era made Brad Gilbert, who lost to Stefan Edberg 6-1, 6-1, apologize to the crowd. Due to the increased sponsorship (Great American Insurance is the presenting sponsor), the prize budget rises up to $1.3 million. Extra seats, new skyboxes and suites along with patio lounge are added. The number of guests exceeds 10,000 only in one session.
1991: The tournament hosts players whose average ranking in the world is 9.6, and this figure is typical rather for major events. This happens thanks to Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Guy Forget, Pete Sampras, Brad Gilbert, Andrei Cherkasov and Derrick Rostagno. The first Seniors tournament is staged this year with Rod Laver, Ilie Nastase and Ken Rosewall participating. Simultaneously, Tennis For City Youth starts a partnership with the tournament in order to help kids get tennis lessons and appropriate equipment.
1992: Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras compete in the finals, and younger Sampras wins 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Now four courts are already available for night matches, and the food court becomes wider.
The “Super 9” Era
1993: Michael Chang drops one set, but then recovers and wins his first tournament title. Agassi joins Petr Korda to gain the only double title he would ever have. They play the semifinal and final on the same day, which is caused by the rain.
The era of the “Super 9” begins for the tournament, which allows it to be promoted more due to the Challenger event that goes before the main draw. Center Court is expanded again. Economic impact is estimated to be $13 million.
1994: The previous year final is repeated. Edberg loses to Chang, who gets his second title. All main zones are expanded once more. Vince Spadea wins in the Challenger event, held for the last time here (the next year it will be moved to Lexington).
1995: Andre Agassi defeats Michael Chang, in Chang’s third consecutive final in the tournament. The stadium is expanded to nearly 1,000 seats. Prize budget rises to $1.8 million. This year Lexington welcomes the Challenger tournament.
1996: Seven players form the best quarterfinal line-up of all tennis events since 1985 (that year the ATP Tour started to compile statistics). The average world ranking is the best in the history of tournament quarterfinals. These players are Pete Sampras, Thomas Muster, Michael Chang, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Wayne Ferreira, and Thomas Enqvist. Agassi defeats Kafelnikov, Muster and Chang to get the title. Edberg plays for the last year after 13 years of participating in the tournament. He set a row of records, like most semifinal appearances (8), most quarterfinal appearances (11), most times seeded (12), most matches played (56) and most singles finals appearances (6). In honor of him a ceremony is held.
The title sponsor is Great American Insurance, and RELCO Resources is presenting sponsor. Prize rises again up to $2.2 million.
1997: Thomas Muster loses to Pete Sampras in the men’s singles. The tennis complex gets a third permanent stadium (the only complex beside the Grand Slams with three permanent stadiums). Another rise of prize sum ($2.3 million).
1998: Patrick Rafter converges with Pete Sampras and gets his second consecutive title in 14 days after the first, won in Canada.
1999: A museum appears at the tennis complex to celebrate the anniversary (100 years since foundation). Outside of the Center Court a new ticket office and a mezzanine are added. Sampras conquers the third title by defeating Patrick Rafter without dropping a set. He is the only one in the Open Era to do so twice at the Cincinnati tournament.
2000: The only change is the name, apart from new “bluish purple” courts, which were painted under Masters Series supervision. First-round byes are eliminated, the draw is 64, CBS broadcasts the finals and prize budget rises to $2.95 million.
For the first time, there are no Americans in the semifinals. Swedish Thomas Enqvist wins the singles title and pockets the biggest sum of his career, $400,000.
Tim Henman is the first player from Great Britain, who reaches the final since 1977.
The economic impact on the local economy is said to rise to $23.3 million.
2001: Australian Patrick Rafter loses to the No. 1 seed Gustavo Kuerten, 6-1, 6-3. Boris Becker returns to play a pro match, first since 1999, and teams with Goran Ivanisevic in doubles. However, they lose in the first round.
Before the storm smashes a big part of the tournament plans, Kuerten wins the first set of the semifinal match against Tin Henman, 6-2. The doubles semifinal, where Martin Damm and David Prinosil VS Jeff Tarango and Nicolas Lapenti had to play, was put off forever.
Western & Southern Open
2002: The third title sponsor takes over and renames the tournament. Not it is called the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. Former world No. 1 Carlos Moya overcomes present world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and takes the title. He is the first Spaniard in the tournament to add his name to the list of champions.
Andy Roddick Era
2003: Efforts brought the result as the tournament acquires the tennis complex and the golf course, operating in its initial territory. It also gets back on the WTA Tour.
Andy Roddick starts a new era by winning the title in a grand three-set final match against Mardy Fish, 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(4). It is an all-American final – first since 1996, and the second longest three-set final in the history of the Cincinnati tournament.
2004: Women’s tennis returns to Cincinnati. Also, Andre Agassi and Lindsay Davenport step into the field after the retirement. Agassi conquers the 17th Masters Series title and third singles title in Cincinnati, joining the other three-time champions, including Bill Talbert, Beals Wright and Pete Sampras. He becomes the second-oldest champion (aged 34) in the tournament history, after Ken Rosewall (35 years).
Davenport wins her fourth consecutive title, defeating the world No. 9 Vera Zvonareva in one hour and seven minutes. Agassi and Roddick play perhaps the greatest match ever seen at the Cincinnati tournament. The next day, Agassi complements his performance by beating Lleyton Hewitt in the men’s final.
2005: Two Swiss dominate on the court. Patty Schnyder rushes through the women’s draw, beating Daniela Hantuchova, Jelena Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva, Ai Sugiyama, and Chanda Rubin. In the final, she overcomes unseeded Akiko Morigami, 6-4, 6-0.
Federer copes with American Andy Roddick and wins, 6-3, 7-5.
2006: Serena Williams returns from the retirement and meets Ana Myskin, whom she knocks off easily in the first round. However, Vera Zvonareva is a real obstacle, and the title goes to the Russian player.
In the men’s singles quarters, Nadal converges with Juan Carlos Ferrero, former world ranked No. 1, who gets to the final. Roddick, who started training with Jimmy Connors, was waiting for Ferrero just to take the title.
2007: By defeating James Blake in the men’s final, Federer wins the second title (his 50th career title). The hardest match for him turned out to be played with Lleyton Hewitt. On the women’s side, Anna Chakvetadze of Russia wins the title.
2008: Andy Murray wins the men’s singles title. The women’s crown is given to Nadia Petrova of Russia, who wins both the singles and the doubles titles of the tournament, repeating Margaret Court’s and John McEnroe’s results.
The tournament completes the association with the USTA and is planning future expansions.
2009: The top four seeds reach the semifinals. Roger Federer gains his third title here by defeating Novak Djokovic. In the semifinals, he met Andy Murray, and that was the first time in the Cincinnati tournament history when No. 1 and No. 2 converge. The prize is another record – the total amount of money is raised to $5 million. Jelena Jankovic of Serbia wins the first tournament title.
2010: Really fascinating changes launch a new epoch in tournament history. First of all, the men’s and women’s events are equal on the top level of professional tours.
A new construction project is implemented; it costs $10 million and promises new facilities for all participants. A new trophy is created by Rookwood Pottery, imaging tennis balls, acanthus leaves and the inscription in honor of “the oldest tournament in the United States still played in its original city”. When Kim Clijsters overcomes Maria Sharapova, she becomes so astonished by the prize that can’t take her eyes off it.
In the men’s singles, Federer wins the fourth title, joining Wilander, Riggs and Lott in such achievement.
2011: Six new courts are waiting for their guests, along with a new entrance and ticket office. Maria Sharapova conquers the first tournament title, and Andy Murray wins his second title in the Queen City. The average ranking in the men’s draw is the strongest since 1996 and reaches 5.63.
2013: Nadal overcomes John Isner, and Victoria Azarenka defeats Serena Williams. Marion Bartoli announces her retirement after falling to Simona Halep in a professional match.
2014: Federer takes the sixth men’s singles title. Serena Williams finally reaches the women’s crown. The doubles title goes to Bob and Mike Bryan, their eighth such title in the tournament.
2015: Both the men’s and women’s singles matches are repeating – it is for the first time since 1938. Federer takes the seventh main prize, while Williams claims the second one. Novak Djokovic falls to Federer in the men’s final, and Simona Halep is beaten by Williams. Daniel Nestor joins Edouard Roger-Vasselin to conquer the fifth doubles title, and the women’s doubles crown goes to Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan.
2016: This year defending champions, Federer and Williams, fall to their opponents. The reason is Federer gets a knee injury. Williams appears to be out of luck this time, as she suffers a shoulder inflammation.
First five seeds include Andy Murray (ranked No.2), Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland, Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic of Canada, and Kei Nishikori of Japan. In men’s singles, Marin Čilić of Croatia beats Andy Murray, 6-4, 7-5. Angelique Kerber of Germany is defeated by Karolína Plíšková of Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-1