August 15 - August 21, 2016
Location: United States, Ohio, Cincinnati
Founded in 1899, this Cincinnati stalwart is the longest-running U.S. tournament to be held in one location. But it has only really come into its own as an international event in the last few years. Played in the out-of-the-way suburb of Mason—“a highway and Marriott,” one less-than-impressed European player remarked—it was once something of an afterthought among the other Masters tournaments. But since being bought by the USTA in 2008, it has steadily upgraded its facilities and boosted its WTA event to a Premier 5. Now all of the top women join all of the top men for the Grand Slam of the Heartland, before they head off to play the country’s real Grand Slam in New York City.
Like Rome, which also leads into a major, the cream tends to rise to the top in anticipation. Serena Williams took home the title in 2014, and Victoria Azarenka beat Serena in a classic final in 2013. More important for U.S. tennis, though, Cincy has established itself as a destination for fans, rather than just a U.S. Open tune-up.