The USTA, ATP, and WTA are set to hold a press conference tomorrow, August 13th, to announce some changes to the U.S. Open Series line-ups.
In 2011, the two separate ATP and WTA events in Cincinnati will become a combined men’s and women’s tournament. This combined event will be held two weeks before the U.S. Open. Cincinnati will join New Haven’s Pilot Pen to become the second combined event in the U.S. Open Series.
The calendar shift will also include a new move for Canadian tennis: While the Toronto and Montreal tournaments will remain in separate cities, the current WTA and ATP Rogers Cup events will occur during the same week, three weeks before the U.S. Open.
The six-week-long 10 hardcourt events are a staple of the North American summer which leads into the season’s final Grand Slam tournament, the U.S. Open. The Open Series suffered a slow start this year, kicking off with The Indianapolis Tennis Championships, without drawing a Top 30 player after Andy Roddick withdrew due to injury.
The second and third weeks were even a little weirder, with WTA stops in Stanford and Los Angeles grabbing wins by players outside the Top 10 (Marion Bartoli and Flavia Pennetta, respectively). The ATP tournaments fared a little better with American Sam Querrey taking the prize in Los Angeles, and Juan Martin Del Potro pulling off a down-to-the-wire win to defend his title over top American Andy Roddick in Washington, D.C.
The fourth week of the Series is when the action heats up, with the fields stacked with the top players. The combined event in Cincinnati really makes sense, and is something fans have been clamoring about for years. As an added bonus, Canada employs a smart split-site format: Montreal hosts the ATP and Toronto hosts the WTA in odd-numbered years, with the venues flip-flopping each season so Nuck fans aren’t left out of the action.
Despite the slow start which mixes with tournaments in Europe and the lack of web streaming, the calendar changes are a great step forward in strengthening the Series and enlivening the dog days of Summer.
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