The Cincinnati Masters is an annual tennis tournament played on a hard court surface. One of the most prestigious and historic tournaments in the world, it is the second largest tennis event in the USA after the US Open and the oldest tournament to be still played in its original city. The Cincinnati Masters is currently sponsored by the Western & Southern Financial Group.
Cincinnati hosted the first edition of the tournament, which was called the Cincinnati Open, in 1899. In 1901, the tournament was renamed as the Tri-State Tennis Tournament and it kept that billing till 1969. The first edition was held on the grounds of the current Xavier University, at the Avondale Athletic Club. The surface used for the tournament was clay and the Cincinnati Open was mostly played on clay courts till 1979; it later moved permanently to hardcourts.
Over the years, the tournament has moved to various locations within Cincinnati. From 1903 – 1972, the tournament was primarily held at the Cincinnati Tennis Club, before moving to the city’s Convention Center in 1974. In 1975, it was hosted by the Coney Island Amusement Park and remained there, before moving back to Mason a few years later. A stadium was built on the venue and two new courts were added later to it, making the Cincinnati Masters the only tournament apart from the US Open to be played on three courts. In 2010, another court was added, making it the only tournament outside of the Grand Slam events to have this many courts.
In its early days, the Cincinnati Masters was predominantly a men-only tournament. Women were allowed to compete, but it was only in 2004, after the organizers had bought the Croatian Bol Ladies Open, that the Masters tournament began to feature a proper women’s tournament as well. In 2008, it was bought by the United States Tennis Association, organizers of the US Open, and officially became part of the organization’s calendar year. The tournament is now held at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio.
Some of the greatest players in the history of the game have graced the courts at the Cincinnati Open. Former champions at the event include tennis greats Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Matts Wilander, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Former women champions include Clara Louise Zinke, Leslie Turner Bowrie, Margaret Court, Lindsay Davenport, Kim Clijsters and Nadia Petrova.
From the current crop of players, Swiss maestro Roger Federer has been the stand out player at the tournament and has won it a record seven times. The rest of this era’s top players have also won the tournament, including Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. In the women’s pool, Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams have been previous champions.
Roger Federer is the current defending champion of the Cincinnati Masters. The Swede has won it two years in a row and defeated world number one Novak Djokovic in the 2015 edition of the tournament.
Serena Williams is the current Women’s champion and has also won back to back tournaments in 2014 and 2015. The world number one defeated Romania’s Simona Halep in the 2015 tournament to win her second crown.
The 2016 edition of the Cincinnati Masters will be held in August and will be the 115th men’s tournament and 88th women’s tournament. A Masters 1000 tournament, the event is part of the ATP World Tour and the WTA Tour and will be one of the two headlining events in the 2016 US Open Series. This basically means that players will acclimatize to the conditions and the hard court playing surface in preparation for the 2016 US Open.
The seedings for the 2016 edition have been announced and unsurprisingly, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will enter the tournament as the number one seed. He is followed by Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka as the top five seeds in the men’s draw.
For the women’s draw, world number one Serena Williams enters the tournament as the number one seed followed by the talented Angelique Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona Halep.
There will be a lot of storylines played out during the Cincinnati Masters as the players put Wimbledon behind them and gear up for the 2016 US Open. Fans will perhaps be most interested in Rafael Nadal’s comeback, after he was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon due to injury. The Spaniard has had a torrid time with injuries so far and if he can put those behind them, he can mount a serious challenge for the US Open. The Cincinnati Masters will definitely give us a chance to see how his preparation is shaping up.
Novak Djokovic’s shock Wimbledon exit at the hands of American Sam Querry left the tennis world agape; the world number one will certainly be hungry to return to winning ways. The Serb had been on a dominant winning streak in recent tournaments and he was considered as the favorite for the Wimbledon championship. Djokovic will be the favorite for the Cincinnati Masters as well and it will be interesting to see how he performs. Djokovic has never won the Cincinnati Masters and has been a losing finalist five times. This is one record he will hope to rectify this year.
Andy Murray will enter the Cincinnati Masters on a high note after clenching his second Wimbledon crown. The talented Scott was a dominant force throughout the tournament, but some people have cast a shadow on his win by claiming he did not defeat any top-four player on his way to the championship. Well those doubts can be cast away when the Scott faces off against Nadal, Federer and Djokovic in the Cincinnati Masters. The tournament will also give him a chance to gear up for the US Open, where he will be one of the favorites for the title after his dominant display at Wimbledon.
For the women’s draw, Serena Williams will undoubtedly be the favorite for the tournament after winning a record equaling twenty second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. The American will have to ward off the challenge of Germany’s Angelique Kerber, who she has already faced in two Grand Slam finals this year.
The Cincinnati Masters is one of the most prestigious tournaments in world tennis and will feature some of the best players currently playing. For tennis fans, this is one event they should not miss. To watch the tournament live, get Cincinnati Tennis Tournament tickets today and book your place at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.