Moments we loved from the 2023 Western & Southern Open

Molly Doehrmann | August 25, 2023

Coco Gauff, with her biggest career win yet, was crowned champion of the 2023 Western & Southern Open women’s singles final. For the men, Novak Djokovic claimed the honor, after returning to the U.S. for the first time since 2021. He beat Carlos Alcaraz, in a thrilling, prolonged duel that left fans flashing back to the pair's last showdown at Wimbledon. And USTA award-winning official, Greg Allensworth from Canton, Ohio was the chair umpire for the match, one of several world-class tournaments Allensworth has officiated, including all four Grand Slams and the Olympics. 


The Western & Southern Open is special. And not just because of its continuation as the United States' oldest tennis tournament played in its original city, but because history is made there, partnerships grow there, families laugh there, dreams are discovered there; and generations of kids from the Midwest say, "I want to play there." 

USTA Midwest staff and volunteers traveled from near and far to attend the tournament. Here were some of our favorite moments from the 2023 competition.


Pro Performances

August 12-20 the world’s best tennis players gathered at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio, including home-court favorites, Peyton Stearns and JJ Wolf, as well as world-renowned pros like Taylor Townsend, Lauren Davis and Rajeev Ram who are also from Midwest. Townsend was the women’s doubles champion with her partner Alycia Parks. Just two months prior, Townsend had reached the Roland Garros finals with Leylah Fernandez. It's a promising track record that will undoubtedly motivate Townsend as she competes at the 2023 US Open, already underway. Did we mention? US Open finalist last year, too.

The word 'pro' doesn't apply to just players. Greg Allensworth, circling back, was the United States' only active gold badge chair umpire last year. He got his start in Ohio Valley officiating team sports as a student at Ohio University and made tennis his full-time career. He's traveled around the world to officiate at pro events, formerly served as the vice-chair for USTA's Officials' Committee (2021-22 term) and Sunday, August 20, he maintained fairness between Djokovic and Alcaraz. A proud day for Midwest tennis.

Taylor Townsend and Alycia Parks won the women's doubles title.
'Love Cincy Tennis' Campaign

For more than a century, the Western & Southern Open has been a treasured event supported by fans from around the world. Nearly 200,000 tennis enthusiasts attend every August coming from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. Add to that 126 million global viewers. Cincinnati Experience—a collaboration of local companies and organizations committed to promoting the Cincinnati region and its assets, such as the Western & Southern Open—created the Love Cincy Tennis Campaign with support from USTA Midwest and USTA Ohio Valley to emphasize the impact of the tournament on the local and surrounding areas. Talks were had with state legislators and pro players endorsed the campaign including many from the Midwest and specifically Cincinnati. On the campaign webpage, Caty McNally (women's doubles finalist at the 2021 and 2022 US Open) shared what it was like growing up in Cincinnati and attending the tournament as a young girl. "I just remember being there, watching all the pros... I was so inspired by these players... It's just this really special place," said McNally.

You can hear from more pros and pledge your support of the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center here.


The USTA Fan Experience

Staff from our USTA Midwest office traveled to the event. Our Tennis Service Representatives (TSRs) were a part of the USTA Fan Experience where people could play tennis on mini courts. Folks from Dallas, Texas hit the ball around at their first W&S Open and college athletes tried a new sport; shoutout to the Cincinnati women's volleyball team and the men's basketball players from Wilmington College. Thanks for stopping by! And, really, it's okay if tennis is your new favorite sport!

Kids Day

Families celebrated pro tennis on August 12 at Kids Day presented by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. More than 300 kids participated in tennis-themed activities: running around the courts, getting their faces painted, and of course, holding up fuzzy yellow tennis balls hoping to get their favorite pro's autograph!

Team USA Camp

Additionally, some of the top 14 and under players from the Midwest Section were invited to the Western & Southern Open on August 18-19. USTA Midwest hosted a Team USA camp, part of the USTA National Player Development high-performance program that connects junior players to high-performance coaches throughout the country. The two days were filled with drills, point play and games all led by Troy Hahn, a USTA faculty coach based in Lake Nona, Florida, alongside talented Midwest coaches. There were even moments for players to meet Jamie Murray and Caty McNally, before trickling out to the courts for a chance to see some of the world's greatest tennis players compete. Read more about the camp here.


Pride Night

Three days into the tournament, Pride Night took place on August 14. It was the biggest show out Pride Night has seen with 101 attendees who showed their support for our LGBTQ+ tennis players, employees, coaches, officials and fans! USTA Midwest Board President, Colin Atkinson joined the party along with USTA Midwest Diversity Committee members.


The Women's Coaches Summit

Leaders from the Midwest attended the Women's Coaches Summit organized by the Midwest Section in partnership with our Ohio Valley District and the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA). There were networking opportunities and participants got to hear from speakers like Vania King—the women's doubles champion from Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010—and Dr. Michelle Cleere. They talked about the playing pathway for girls and mental resilience in sports, respectively.

Adaptive and Wheelchair Tennis

USTA Midwest and our foundation, the USTA/Midwest Tennis & Education Foundation teamed up with ACEing Autism, Buddy Up For Life, Inc. and the Cincinnati Tennis Foundation for fantastic, inclusive events! The Cincinnati Tennis Foundation had a record number of sign-ups for their annual wheelchair tournament. Competitors came from all over the U.S. — Ohio, Florida, Texas and beyond. Two college teams participated, University of Michigan and Auburn University. The events helped raise awareness for adaptive and wheelchair sports and proved that tennis is a sport everyone can play!

Diverse Program Meet Up

On courts nearby a practicing Novak Djokovic, participants from several National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapters attended the Diverse Program Meet Up. The kids built new friendships with members of other chapters and heard from Todd Martin, the Western & Southern Open Tournament Director, who dropped by along with Michael Venus, the 2023 W&S Open men's doubles runner up! 

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