The professional tennis tournament leading into this month’s U.S. Open will look normal—Western & Southern banners on the courts, Rookwood Pottery trophies for the winners—but the action is happening far from Mason. The U.S. Tennis Association, which owns the Western & Southern Open, moved the Cincinnati summer tradition to New York City to couple it with the U.S. Open.
The event traces its roots here to 1899, and relocating it was painful but necessary. “Three-quarters of our players need a passport to play in the tournament,” says Chief Operating Officer Katie Haas (including last year’s men’s winner, Daniil Medvedev, pictured above). “Between the international travel concerns and quarantining players during run of play, our best option for the tournament became combining it with the U.S Open.” She says players and their coaches and support staff can get direct international flights to New York and, between host hotels and the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, can operate in one protective “bubble” over several weeks.
The Western & Southern Open will be the first combined men’s and women’s pro tennis tournament since the pandemic shutdown, running August 20–28. The U.S. Open follows on August 31.