Ready to get served? Cincinnati’s annual tennis tournament returns to the courts in Mason this weekend.
The first qualifying round of the 2023 Western & Southern Open begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. Gates open at 9 a.m. This year’s event will feature several superstar players, like Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Coco Gauff and Iga Swiatek.
Whether you’ve attended the W&S Open for years or this is your first time, here’s everything you need to know about the 2023 tournament.
Where is the Western & Southern Open?
The W&S Open, which hosts both ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 tournaments in the same week, is an annual hardcourt tennis event at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
This year’s tournament runs from Aug. 12-20.
Who’s playing in the Western & Southern Open?
The world’s top 41 men and 39 women are scheduled to compete, led by No. 1 players Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek.
Tennis legend Venus Williams was awarded a wild-card spot. Williams was a W&S Open semifinalist in 2012 and a quarterfinalist in 2019. This will be her 10th singles appearance in the tournament, tying her for the second most among active players.
Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova will also compete in this year’s W&S Open, and two-time W&S Open champion Novak Djokovic will play in his first tournament in the United States since 2021 and his first W&S Open in four years.
Besides Djokovic, other Western & Southern Open champions on the entry list include Daniil Medvedev, Andy Murray, Madison Keys, Victoria Azarenka and more.
What’s the history of the Western & Southern Open?
The tournament began in 1899 as the Cincinnati Open, played on clay courts at the Avondale Athletic Club on property that now belongs to Xavier University. Nat Emerson, a local who later ranked in the top 10 tennis players in the U.S. in 1908, won the first tourney.
The event changed names and locations several times over the years, including the Tri-State Tennis Tournament in 1901, a name it would keep until 1969.
By 1979, it switched to hardcourts, when the tournament moved to Mason, where it remains to this day. The Western & Southern Financial Group began sponsoring it in 2002, and the name changed from the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women’s Open to its current name, the Western & Southern Open, in 2011.
South Carolina billionaire Ben Navarro’s Beemok Capital group purchased the tournament in August 2022 from the United States Tennis Association. The change in ownership has raised questions about whether the W&S Open could be moved.
In June, city council members in Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to move forward with a proposed $400 million, 40-court tennis complex that could become the new home of the W&S Open.
A decision on the long-term home of the tournament is expected later this summer. The city of Mason has said it is working proactively with state and local officials to keep the tournament in Ohio, including a $150 million facility expansion to host larger tournaments, pickleball matches and other year-round events.
How to get tickets
There are a few different ticket options for the W&S Open. You can choose a session and seat at Center Court, with tickets ranging from a single session to a full series package. Multiday ticket packages are sold out, according to the tournament’s website.
As of Aug. 10, the cheapest starting priced ticket is $19 for the first-round match at 6 p.m. Aug. 13, with the gates opening at 5 p.m. The most expensive starting priced ticket is $121 for the first and second round match at 11 a.m. Aug. 15, with the gates opening at 10 a.m.
There are also premium ticket options available, including:
All-Inclusive Club: Prices vary by day but start at $170 for Aug. 12.
The Heart of Tennis Suite: Prices vary by day and session but start at $550 for Aug. 17.
1899 Room: Prices vary by day and session but start at $99 for Aug. 12.
Grandview Club: Prices vary by day and session but start at $80 for Aug. 12.
Luxury Suites: Including the Champions Suites, Crosscourt Suites, Grandview Suites and Baseline Suites. Contact the tournament for pricing options.
Parking at the Western & Southern Open
Free parking is included with every ticket. The tournament’s website promises “many highway and street signs” once you’re close to the center, leading drivers to the appropriate parking lot. Parking attendants will be on-site to direct visitors to the appropriate lot upon arrival.
The Linder Family Tennis Center is located at 5460 Courseview Dr. in Mason.
Jeff Suess helped contribute to this story.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Western & Southern Open 2023: Parking, tickets, players and more