Every summer, come August, tennis mania hits Cincinnati. It is the time where both the ATP and WTA make pit stops in Mason and visit their old friend “Cincinnati.” This is one of the final tune-ups on the road to Flushing Meadows. And this is always a tournament that really excites the city and players alike. There is one major difference this year from past years. Cincinnati is in the midst of both Red’s and Bengal’s fever. The Red’s are atop the NL Central and the Bengals are a favorite in the AFC North. Either way though, Mason is still the happening spot to be over this 2 week period. It is the “It” thing to do in Cincinnati.
The women’s tournament did lose much of its typical luster due to the lack of “Williams” in the main draw. Both Serena and Venus pulled out due to “injury.” So instead fans got a memorable final that seemed to be a flashback to 5 years ago, as two former number 1s, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova dueled it out on Center Court. This was a very high quality final and Clijsters grinded it out like the days of old. Starting today though, the real deal begins as the main draw for the men’s draw gets under way. And in this draw, all the big dogs are here. There are no “injuries.”
Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer, Roddick, etc are ready to roll. Fans will be getting their money’s worth this week. The big story is the sudden emergence of Andy Murray as possibly the best hard court player in the world. Murray beat both Nadal and Federer in Toronto. He also took down Nadal on the hard courts at the Australian Open in January. Murray looks poised to possibly bring home the first Grand Slam of his career in Flushing Meadows. This guy has an outstanding all around game and really could bring home the US Open. Federer has thrived on Grass (other than this year) and Nadal on the Clay. Maybe the hard court will become Murray’s domain?
People do not realize, but we are very fortunate in Cincinnati. The main tour these days is referred to as the ATP Master Series. This consists of the 4 Grand Slams and 9 other major tournaments. Well Cincinnati is one of these 9 major pitstops. Why Cincinnati? Well the event began in Cincinnati in 1899. And is the oldest tournament in the United States played in its original city. I bet you were not aware of that. Many do not realize, this summer tennis swoon is more than just a happening of the moment. It is a very historic tradition for this city and something that does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. People really need to continue to grasp the significance of this major event for Cincinnati and embrace it.
This week, look for some big time tennis. Expect to see Murray, Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic roll deep into this tourney, as I do not believe any of them are playing in New Haven next week. This is their final tune-up for the year’s final major. You better believe that they want to show their readiness for Flushing Meadows. Also expect Roddick to play deep into the draw. An American typically surprises fans here every year and really excites the crowd with a deep run. Well I am expecting that American to be Mr. Andy Roddick.
I got Nadal taking care of Murray this week in the Finals and bringing home his 1st title in Cincinnati. The extra couple of days of rest from the semifinal exit in Toronto will help Rafa this week in Cincy. Also realize that no player has won the Canadian tournament (Toronto and Montreal rotate hosting each year) and then Cincinnati in consecutive weeks since Roddick accomplished this feat while hitting number 1, in the summer of 2003. Speaking of Andy Roddick, do not be surprised if he is still hanging around come the semifinals.
As the commercials on the tube say. All of the best men’s tennis players, “Will be seeing you in Cincinnati.”
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.