Cincinnati Masters Series Tennis History and Information
Since 1899, just 25 years after the first recorded playing of the sport in America, tennis tournaments have been thespian in Cincinnati. That legacy is celebrated in vivid style in the book “From Club Court to Center Court, The Evolution of Professional Tennis in Cincinnati.”
The book, now in its fifth edition, is the first complete compilation of tournament information ever produced. "It contains details about the Cincinnati tournament that were never published before," said author Phil Smith. "The contest entered its third century of existence in 2000, but until very recently we had very little in order about the years 1899 to 1968, also known as the Pre-Open Era."
One complicating factor in discovery the details of the Pre-Open era was that the dates of the tournament each year weren't known. And without a tournament date one could spend hours probing newspaper archives with little success.
Enter Frank Phelps of Philadelphia. "Phelps is supposedly the only person in the world with a complete collection of 'tennis annuals'," Smith said.
The book also has helped the tournament discover its place as the oldest contest in the nation still played in its original city. Two tournaments are elder than Cincinnati – The US Open and San Jose. However, the tournament now known as the US Open, now played in New York, was played in Rhode Island for its first few decades, and the San Jose event was at first played in Monterey, California, which is 75 miles south of San Jose.