MASON, Ohio — The Western & Southern Open is one of the biggest and oldest annual tennis tournaments in the United States.
This year, superstars such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic will compete in the tournament taking place Aug. 10-18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
(Rafael Nadal announced on Sunday he was withdrawing from the Western & Southern Open, citing fatigue after winning his 35th Masters 1000 title at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal.)
Although the action on the court is the main focus, there will be plenty of other things to do, see and eat.
PLACES TO SPOT TENNIS STARS
Who doesn't enjoy running into an idol or star athlete? Over the years, some of the world's best tennis players have been spotted out and about Greater Cincinnati when not on the court. Here are a few places to visit for the best chance to experience a celebrity encounter.
1. Kings Island Amusement Park, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason: Top men's tennis players Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray enjoyed some down time at Kings Island before participating in last year's Western & Southern Open. Murray and Kyrgios shared the day at the park on their Instagram accounts. Serena Williams' husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, even showed his love for Graeter's black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream in a photo he posted in front of Kings Island's Eiffel Tower.
2. Sotto, 118 E. Sixth St., Downtown: Speaking of Williams ... it might be worth making a reservation at Sotto. Long before meeting and marrying Ohanian, the superstar tennis player was spotted smooching mega-music star Drake in the dimly lit restaurant.
3. Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown: Many stars stay out of sight in private suites, but some show up in the good seats behind home base, including John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston, the cast and crew of " Marauders," Emilio Estevez, his father, Martin Sheen, and brother Charlie Sheen. Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers even took batting practice.
4. 21c Museum Hotel, 609 Walnut St., Downtown: This hotel is very popular with top-line actors and athletes. Ewan McGregor stayed there while making “Miles Ahead” and posted an Instagram picture of the hotel's signature yellow penguins outfitted with "Star Wars" weapons. Also seen passing through: Christopher Meloni, Meg Ryan and Kevin Costner.
5. Newport Aquarium, 1 Aquarium Way, Newport: Athletes love the aquarium, apparently. Former Reds player Brandon Phillips, NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, former Bengal Domata Peko and even Pete Rose have shown up to commune with fish and fowl. Actors are fans, too: Ryan Gosling and actress Olivia Wilde visited the aquarium while Gosling was in Cincinnati filming "The Ides of March" with George Clooney.
There's plenty to do for those wanting to stay closer to the tennis court during the Western & Southern Open. Organizers, along with professional tennis organizations, will hold multiple special events during the tournament.
Kids Day: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. Included with ticket. Kids Day will let children meet new friends, participate in on-court challenges and fun activities around the grounds. On-court activities are from 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, and off-court activities will take place from 9 a.m.-noon. www.wsopen.com
High School Day: 9-10:30 a.m. Sunday. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. Included with ticket. High School Day is for high school students of all skill levels to enjoy a fun and challenging day of drills and appearances by the touring pros of the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association. www.wsopen.com
Military Appreciation Day: 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. Any military member or uniformed civic personnel (police, firefighters, etc.) who shows a valid ID at the gates will receive a half-price ticket for the men’s and women’s first-round day or evening sessions. The day session begins at 11 a.m., followed by the evening session at 7 p.m. There also will be recognition of current and former military members who are in attendance during evening matches. www.wsopen.com
USTA Pride Night: 5 p.m. Monday. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. $42. The Midwest Diversity Committee is hosting its Pride Event during the fifth session on the first day of play. Tickets for the event are limited. www.usta.com
USTA Night: 7 p.m. Monday and again Aug. 15. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. To thank our family at the All United States Tennis Association members can enjoy discounted tickets on Monday and Aug. 15. Members with a valid member ID can enjoy $4 off individual tickets for qualifying sessions. One discount per member ID number. www.usta.com
First Responders Day: 5 p.m. Aug. 17. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. Western & Southern Open will honor first responders with a 50% discount at the ticket window of the tournament with a valid badge or ID for themselves and immediate family. www.wsopen.com
Buddy Up Tennis: Noon-1 p.m. Aug. 18. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Drive, Mason. Buddy Up Tennis is a high-energy, adaptive tennis and fitness program for children and adults with Down syndrome. The program has teams that will compete for the Buddy Up Tennis Team Challenge Cup on courts five, six and seven during the Western & Southern Open Finals. www.buddyuptennis.com
FOOD AND DRINKS
If you get hungry during the Open, there's no reason to leave the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Multiple local and national restaurants will be serving food on-site. Here is what’s on the menu:
Firehouse Subs: Specialty sub sandwiches, salads and vegetarian options. Click here for full menu and prices.
Flip Side: Grass-fed beef burgers, fresh salads, mac & cheese, brisket mac, fries and cheese fries. Click here for full menu and prices.
Frutta Bowls: Smoothies and Acai bowls. Click here for full menu and prices.
Fusian: Build your own sushi and non-seafood options. Click here for full menu and prices.
Graeter’s: Ice cream and frozen drinks. Click here for full menu and prices.
Kala Greek Grill: Traditional and chicken gyros, falafels, salads and Greek fries. Click here for full menu and prices.
LaRosa’s: Extra cheese and double pepperoni pizza slices, plus veggie calzone. Click here for full menu and prices.
Mazunte: Tostada, tacos and chips and guacamole. Click here for full menu and prices.
Philly Pretzel Factory: Cheese steak rivets, pretzel twist, fresh squeezed lemonade and multiple dipping sauces. Click here for full menu and prices.
Prime Cincinnati: Seafood, sliders, mac & cheese, calamari, Key lime pie and specialty salads. Click here for full menu and prices.
Revolution Rotisserie & Bar: Fried chicken sandwich, Nashville hot chicken plate, lightning chicken wings, Nelson Mandela “chita,” Betsy Ross salad, waffle fries, crispy Brussels and collard greens. Click here for full menu and prices.
Skyline Chili: Cheese coney, small three-way and Greek salad. Click here for full menu and prices.
Street City Pub: The AT580Market Salad, Street City Pub Salad, Cajun Scottish Salmon Salad, Scottish Salmon sandwich, Trey Fish sandwich, Reuben plus chips and pub chips. Click here for full menu and prices.
3-19 Coffee: Coffee, hot and iced espresso beverages, nitro cold brew, kombucha, tea, chai, muffins, croissants. and scones. Click here for full menu and prices.