By Western & Southern Open Staff
The Western & Southern Open will include each of the Top 10 men’s and women’s players in the world. Altogether, the Top 43 players on the ATP World Tour and Top 39 from the WTA have committed to participate at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, Aug. 9-17.
The initial entrants to the tournament include the last three men’s champions – Rafael Nadal (2013), Roger Federer (2012, ’10, ’09, ’07) and Andy Murray (2011, ’08) – as well as four-time finalist and recently crowned Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.
The women’s field also includes the past three champions – Victoria Azarenka (2013), Li Na (2012) and Maria Sharapova (2011) – as well as 2013 runner-up and current world No. 1 Serena Williams.
Together, the 83 early commitments represent 29 countries. Ten of these players have held the No. 1 ranking on their respective tours, while 15 of them have combined to win a total of 81 Grand Slam singles titles.
“To have every possible player at the top of the rankings of both tours enter the Western & Southern Open shows the value these players place on this tournament,” said Tournament Director and COO Vince Cicero. “We pride ourselves on giving the players the best possible tournament experience, and with their commitment to play here, it give us the chance to put on a tremendous event for our fans attending and the global viewing audience.”
Since the start of the 2011 season, every men’s Grand Slam and Masters 1000 event has been won by one of five players – Djokovic, Federer, Murray, Nadal and 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka – except one (David Ferrer won ATP Masters 1000 Paris in 2012). Djokovic, who regained the No. 1 ranking following his title at Wimbledon, would become the first player to complete the Career Golden Masters (at least one title at each of the nine ATP Masters 1000 events) with a win in Cincinnati.
Joining the aforementioned dominant stars of the men’s game is a group of young players seeking their first Masters 1000 title: 23-year-olds Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov as well as 24-year-old Kei Nishikori.
A new wave of talent in the women’s game will also be on display at the Lindner Family Tennis Center, headlined by 22-year-old Simona Halep, the French Open finalist, and 20-year-old Genie Bouchard, the Wimbledon finalist, as well as American up-and-comers Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys.
While this new generation has been finding success, the established stars are still at the top of the game. Williams maintains her No. 1 ranking while Li (Australian Open) and Sharapova (French Open) have added, respectively, their second and fifth Grand Slam titles earlier this season.
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments at the Western & Southern Open will consist of 56-player fields. There are 44 men and 39 women directly accepted into the event with these initial entries. Four men and five women will be awarded wild cards into the tournament. In addition, a two-round qualifying tournament will be held August 9-10 in which an additional seven men and 12 women will earn berths into the W&S Open.
The Western & Southern Open is one of only five tennis events in the world, outside the Grand Slams, where the best men and women play during the same week at the same venue.
The advance player entry lists are based on the rankings of June 30 and are subject to change.