What to see, where to go at Western & Southern Open

Nearly 200,000 people plan to flock to the Lindner Family Tennis Center for the week-long Western & Southern Open.

And they won’t just be there to watch amazing tennis, even though most of the top-ranked players in the world are scheduled to take part in the annual event in Mason, Ohio.

The Field

In total, 22 of the top 25 players on the ATP World Tour remain entered in the Western & Southern Open.

One person who won’t take part in the event is no. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal, the defending W&S champ. The 28-year-old had to withdraw due to a wrist injury.

Tournament director Vince Cicero called Nadal's decision not to play in Cincinnati "unfortunate," both because he'll not be able to defend his 2013 title and because of how he's received by fans, who travel from around the world to Mason to watch him play.

But he said both the men’s and women’s brackets remain stuffed with top talent.

"The men's field remains incredibly strong, with five-time champion Roger Federer, two-time champion Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic, who is on a quest to become the first to complete the Career Golden Masters with a title here," Cicero said. "We're looking forward to welcoming these men along with the top WTA stars to Cincinnati in just nine days."

Most of the top 39 ranked players on the WTA are scheduled to play in the women's tournament.

Both the men's and women's tournaments at the Western & Southern Open will consist of 56-player singles fields. Four men and up to five women were awarded wild cards into the tournament.

Why Does This Event Matter?

The Western & Southern Open is one of only five tennis events in the world, outside of the grand slams, where the best men and women play during the same week at the same venue.

The event is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, a kick off event for the US Open. 

It’s one of the nation's oldest professional tennis tournaments still played in its city of origin. 

First played in 1899 on the site of the modern day Xavier University, the W&S Open has been a fixture in the Queen City for more than a century. 

The Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason became home to the tournament now known as the Western & Southern Open (or Cincinnati Masters) in 1979 when tournament organizers grew weary of perennial Ohio River flooding at its venue of the time, the Coney Island amusement park.

The champions' list reads like a who's who of tennis greats, with more than 100 International Tennis Hall of Famers having played in Cincinnati over the years.

People Around The World Will Get To Watch

Not all tennis fans will be able to make it to Mason for the event, though directors like to note that fans have made special trips from as far away as Europe and South America to watch the tournament.

Those who won't be in the Tri-State during the first two weeks in August can still tune in for the action. That is, as long as you have cable.

A record 66 hours of coverage will be broadcast live on two major sports networks. The Tennis Channel hosting the early round from Aug. 11 through Aug. 13. Coverage on ESPN 2 begin with the Round of 16 and continue throughout Championship Sunday.

Full TV schedule:

- Monday, Aug. 11: Early Rounds
10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. - Tennis Channel

- Tuesday, Aug. 12: Early Rounds
10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. - Tennis Channel

- Wednesday, Aug. 13: Early Rounds
10:30 a.m.  to 11 p.m. - Tennis Channel

- Thursday, Aug. 14: Round of 16:
1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. -  ESPN2

- Friday, Aug. 15: Quarterfinals
11 a.m. to  5 p.m; 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. -  ESPN2

- Saturday, Aug. 16: Semifinals
1 to 5 p.m.; 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. - ESPN2

- Sunday, Aug. 17: Finals
2 to 6 p.m. (women's final followed by men's final) -  ESPN2

Be There In Person

Does the thought of watching tennis on TV not quite cut the mustard? You can venture to the Lindner Family Tennis Center to watch the event in person.

Although, you need to act fast as tickets aren't always easy to come by.

In 2013, more than 186,000 people showed up at the Tennis Center for one of the numerous events associated with the yearly tennis tournament. And organizers are expecting similar numbers this year.

The tournament's final round on Aug. 17, also known as Championship Sunday, has already sold out. Tickets for Thursday, Aug. 14 and Saturday, Aug. 16 have also sold out. 

And an additional number of sessions are also nearing sellout or have reached sellout status.

Tickets still available range anywhere from $5 to $50 on the official Ticketmaster website.

If the sessions do sell out, you’ll have to find an alternate means of purchasing tickets, like using an online resale vendor. Some finals tickets are already making their way to StubHub.

While late-round tickets may be difficult to come by, W&S Open marketing director Will Sikes says fans can still obtain tickets for other sessions during the week, including the morning session of the semifinals on Saturday, Aug. 16.

“The beauty of a tournament is that the best players need to work their way through the draw in their attempt to claim the title, which means there are many opportunities to watch them during the week,” Sikes said.

You can purchase tickets for one or as many of the 16 total sessions that you'd like to attend. You can also buy full series and mini series ticket packages.

Just because a ticket comes with a hefty price tag or a low section number doesn't mean you're getting the best available seat for your needs and wants.

The W&S Open organizers have put together a cool little tool that gives prospective ticket buyers a chance to see what the view is like from their (theoretical) seat before they actually hit the "purchase" button.

The took is called the "seat viewer."

You can check it out here: https://shop.cincytennis.com/seatviewer.aspx?intloc=headernavsub

Of course, just because a round is sold out, doesn’t mean you can’t be there to be part of the action.

You can also purchase tickets to just be at the Tennis Center and walk around the grounds.

More Than Just Tennis

The multi-court set up at 5460 Courseview Dr. is not far from Kings Island, The Beach Water Park and various entertainment venues so there’s plenty to do and see in the area.

However, W&S Open organizers want those in attendance to be able to get their entertainment fix inside the expansive walls of the Tennis Center.

In addition to quality tennis, W&S Open marketing director Will Sikes says there’s plenty to see and do around the venue for tennis fans and socialites alike.

“Plus, the amount of great food, music and multiple matches occurring simultaneously during the other days is appealing for passionate and casual fans alike,” he said.

Special Events (All require tickets)

Events kick off with a special Draw Party on Aug. 8. And almost every other day has some sort of event for kids, families and even one to honor military personnel. (Click below to learn more)

Graeter's Kids Day on Aug. 9

Ignition High School Day on Aug. 10

Kroger Family Night  on Aug. 10

Military and Uniformed Personnel Appreciation Day on Aug. 11

Night On The Runway on Aug. 13

USTA Member Appreciation Day on Aug. 14

Food And Drink

Food at sporting events has come a long way since the peanuts and hot dogs of yesteryear.

The Lindner Family Tennis Center offers a number of different places for you to take a break and enjoy a cold drink with your family and friends.

And it's much more than the standard hot dogs and sodas you're used to enjoying at sporting events. Although, those options are still there for those who want them.

Michelob Ultra Legends Bar – The Michelob Ultra Legends Bar is not only the best seat in the house to listen to the music and entertainment stage, and will be serving Mich Ultra along with other selections. This new bar will have twice the seating as the beach house and will debut the night of the Draw Party, August 8.

el Arco Tequila Margarita Bar – A new addition to the Western & Southern Open this year, be sure to stop by and try the signature el Arco Ace Margarita.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Wine Garden – "Wine down" in the this garden of libations. You can try the very best from the vineyard of Robert Mondavi surrounded by award-winning landscaping by LaMond Design.

Each night at 5:30 p.m. there will be demos and tastings from these Cincinnati celebrity chefs including: Anne Kearney, Rue Dumaine; David Cook, Daveed's NEXT; Todd Kelly, Orchids at Palm Court; Amy Tobin, New RIFF, Food Writer and Critic; Danny Combs, Sotto; and Jean Robert de Cavel, John Robert's Table.

Moet Champagne Bar – Take time to treat yourself to the luxurious taste of Moet, the official Champagne of the Western & Southern Open.

Svedka Vodka Lounge – Enjoy a break from the action and head to the Svedka Vodka Lounge to try a wide array of specialty drinks, including last year’s hit tournament drink, the Svedka Smash.

All are open to the public and most offer shady areas to take a break from the sunny, on-court action.

Food Booths

Daveed's NEXT
Menu highlights include Daveed's Walking Taco, a pear salad and chilled red tomato gazpacho

Featuring their French pot ice cream and gelato 

Highlights include two fish tacos, chicken salad with a pretzel stick from Servatii and a prime rib hoagie

Menu highlights includes their unique "make your own roll" sushi options, as well as a shrimp roll and the veggie roll

Hot Head Burritos
Menu highlights include their traditional burrito, a burrito bowl and nachos

Taste of Belgium
Menu highlights include their famed chicken and waffles, traditional crepe offerings and waffles with all the standard toppings

J. Gumbo's
Menu highlights include their take on bumblebee stew, white chili and Voodoo Chicken

Skyline Chili
Menu highlights include cheese coneys and a small 3-Way, both of which are topped in Cincinnati-style chili, and a Greek salad

The Wich On Sycamore
Menu highlights include a chicken BBQ sandwich, Santa Fe chicken salad and a pecan chicken salad sandwich

Baba Budans
Menu highlights include a berry crepe, a turkey pesto panini, and spinach and mushroom quiche

Eli's Sports Bar and Grill
Menu highlights include their double-dipped Wings, a grilled chicken sandwich and the Eli's Burger

Menu highlights include slices of extra cheese and double pepperoni pizza, as well as a veggie calzone

Menu highlights include various six-Inch and footlong subs, as well as a salad option

Montgomery Inn
Menu highlights include their celebrated pulled pork BBQ


2014 lineup for the Dayton International Airport Stage

Saturday, Aug. 9 - Mack West (11 a.m. to 1 p.m)

Sunday, Aug. 10 - Tracey Walker (Noon - 2 p.m.), G. Burton Story (5 to 7 p.m.)

Monday, Aug. 11 - Erin Locke & The Tumblers (noon to 2 p.m.), Rattlesnakin' Daddies (5 to 7 p.m.), Young Heirlooms (7:15 to 9:15 p.m.)

Tuesday, Aug. 12 - Shiny Old Soul (noon to 2 p.m.), Queen City Silver Stars (5 to 7 p.m.), Steppnback Band (8:45 to 10:45 p.m.)

Wednesday, Aug. 13 - Buffalo Wabs (noon to 2 p.m.), Old Green Eyes (5 to 7 p.m.), Hickory Robot (7:15 to 9:15 p.m.)

Thursday, Aug. 14 - Marmalade Brigade (noon to 2 p.m.), Greg Schaber Duo (5 to 7 p.m.), Lagniappe (8:45 to 10:45 p.m.)

Friday, Aug. 15 - Zac Rowe (noon to 2 p.m.), Bluesbent (5 to 7 p.m.), Ben Knight & The Welldiggers (8:45 to 10:45 p.m.)

Saturday, Aug. 16 - Crick Gypsies (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.), The Sunburners (5 to 7 p.m.), The Carolines (7:15 to 9:15 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 17 - David Rhodes Brown & His Hillbilly Harem (noon to 2 p.m.), Suave (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

2014 lineup for Main North Gate
Saturday, Aug. 10 - Chris Goings (9:45 to 10:45 a.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 11 - Chris Cusentino (9:45 to 10:45 a.m.)
Monday, Aug.12 - Gregory Morris (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)
Tuesday. Aug.13 - Shiny Old Soul (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)
Wednesday, Aug. 14 - Shaun Henry (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 15 - Michael McIntyre (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)
Friday, Aug. 16 - Skywriters Justin Lynch (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 17 - Jake Evans (10:45 to 11:45 a.m.)

Buy into the tennis, buy into Cincinnati, just buy stuff

In addition to food and drink, there are plenty of merchants that capitalize on the monetary influx to Mason. 

W&S Open attendees can peruse the numerous offerings inside the 20,000-square-foot retail plaza for everything from sunglasses and jewelry to tennis apparel and accessories.

You can even set up a retirement plan.

OK, maybe not, but Western & Southern Financial Group does have a display inside the shopping center.

Some of those setting up shop this year include:

Broadway in Cincinnati
Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation
Dottie G
Head/Penn Racquet Sports
Lacoste Fragrances
Midwest Sports
The Silver Lady II
Sunglass Hut
Sweaty Bands
Morgan Tailor Nail Lounge     
USTA/ Midwest Section
Erin Wachs Jewelry

Want to dress like the pros and score official tournament gear? Visit the giant, air-conditioned Midwest Sports tent, located next to the food court, behind Center Court, or their satellite tent in the retail plaza.

What To Bring, And Not Bring

To ensure that all guests have an enjoyable and safe experience, security is limiting what guests can bring into the tennis center.

As is the case at most sports venues, all bags are subject to a complete and thorough search.

However, guests are not allowed to bring backpacks (or any "multi-compartment bag with multiple shoulder straps") into Lindner Family Tennis Center.

You can bring tote bags, cinch bags and other small smaller bags that are able to fit on your lap or under your seat. Single strap diaper bags are OK if you're accompanied by a child.

The W&S Open put together a full list of things that are allowed inside the complex here.​

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