MASON, Ohio - The Western & Southern Open is the nation's oldest professional tennis tournament still held in its original city, but the 2013 tournament in Mason stood out as one for the history books.
Over the course of nine days and 16 sessions, the tournament set records for single session (13,704), single day (25,155) and total week attendance (186,501) at Lindner Family Tennis Center.
Not surprisingly, a new sellouts record was also set during the the event, which ran from Aug. 10-18.
Below is the breakdown of each of the records established during the 2013 event:
- Total weekly attendance - 186,501
- Sellouts - 13 sessions (including 11 straight to end the week)
- Single day - 25,155 (Thursday, Aug. 15)
- Single session 13,704 - (Wednesday, Aug. 14 Day)
The nearly 200,000 people who converged upon Greater Cincinnati for the tournament came from across the globe. In addition to having people visit from all 50 states, the tournament attracted people from as far away as Mexico, Spain and Italy, according to event organizers.
Those attendance figures don't include the more than 60 million people in 170 countries worldwide who watched the tournament on television or via some form of Internet broadcast.
Making An Impact
In addition to the immediate effect on those affiliated with the tournament, the Western & Southern Open has a major impact on the economy in Mason and the Greater Cincinnati area overall.
A 2011 study conducted by the University of Cincinnati Economics Center concluded that the event generated $62.5 million in economic impact on a yearly basis. That number includes capital expansion, tournament operations and off-site visitor spending.
By comparison, University of Cincinnati Economics Professor Julie Heath told 9 On Your Side in January that the 2015 MLB All-Star Game and surrounding events could attract about 150,000 out-of-town guests to Cincinnati and be worth up to $80 million to the local economy.
In 2012, the World Choir Games had an estimated $73.5 million impact on the Tri-State.
But those event only take place once every few decades. The Reds have only hosted the MLB All-Star Game two other times since 1970 (1970, 1988), and the World Choir Games have only come to Cincinnati once.
The W&S Open takes place every year.
Part of the reason for the increased attendance was the 2012 completion of a three-year renovation project at Lindner Family Tennis Center that increased the size of the property from 13.6 acres in 2010 to 19 acres.
The projects included the addition of six new courts, two new grounds entrances, a new food court, and an increased and improved retail area near Center Court.
Another key was the construction of the Paul Flory Player Center, a state-of-the-art facility that caters to the athletes' on- and off-court needs.
The enhancements helped attract even more players to the tournament, which is one of only five non-Grand Slam tournaments in the world that hosts a top-level ATP and WTA combined event.
Only The Best
This year's event featured nine of the top and 28 of the top 30 players in the current ATP rankings, including Rafael Nadal, this year's champion.
Nadal and and women's champ Victoria Azarenka added to the history of the event by earning their first-ever W&S Open titles.
On Sunday, Nadal took advantage of the few openings he got against American John Isner, grinding out a 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3) win.
Nadal had never even reached the finals in Cincinnati prior to this year.
The victory meant a lot for the 27-year-old Spaniard. It was his second consecution hard-court title (Montreal), something he’s never done before in his career.
"It means a lot winning two straight titles on hard (courts)," he said after the match. "It's just amazing for me. I never did something like this in my career.
The victory was also a first for Azarenka, who bested Serena Williams in a third-set tiebreaker. Williams was also vying for her first Queen City title.
The 2014 Western & Southern Open will be held August 9-17.
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