There & Back: Cincinnati's Pro Tennis Tournament

Roger Federer, average guy? When the Wimbledon champ plays Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open every summer, he is—the four-time champ waves off the transportation desk and drives himself around the city instead. It’s just one example of the relaxed vibe at Cincy’s venerable, 113-year-old event, a cut-rate version of the U.S. Open later this month. The best women and men in the world have signed up to play August 11–19 (near King’s Island, where Serena Williams, pictured at left, rode a roller coaster last year), and their open practices take place on courts as intimate as a high school’s.
Serena’s older sister, Venus Williamsan IU Student, by the by—is also in the mix, having won her tempestuous first-round match over Russian star Maria Kirilenko.
To rub tennis elbows with recognizable players, have a nightcap at the tournament’s official hotel, the Marriott Northeast, where even some of the stars stay. And the gazing never ends: Olympic mixed-doubles gold medalist Max Mirnyi of Belarus, for one, is making cameo appearances in the breakfast bar at the nearby Hilton Garden Inn, as low-key as a 6-foot-5 professional athlete can be.
$30 and up. Lindner Family Tennis Center, 5460 Courseview Dr., Mason, Ohio, 513-651-0303,
Photo by Jonathan Scott