This year’s ATP/WTA Cincinnati event will operate at full capacity for spectators, organisers said Thursday, the first US tournament to announce a lifting of crowd restrictions since the pandemic.
A statement said the August 14-22 hardcourt tournament, known formally as the Western & Southern Open, would return to Cincinnati this year after being moved to New York last season.
“In keeping with the guidance from local government officials, we are eager to welcome fans back to the Western & Southern Open,” said Tournament Chief Operating Officer Katie Haas.
“The fans bring so much energy and excitement to our event, and we dearly missed them last year. We look forward to returning to Cincinnati and welcoming our fans at this year’s tournament.”
Covid-19 decimated the tennis calendar last season, forcing the ATP and WTA Tours into a protracted shutdown for most of the year.
Tournaments held in the United States since the tours resumed have taken place either without spectators or with a sharply reduced capacity.
Cincinnati is a key tune-up event for the US Open. Last year the event was held at Flushing Meadows immediately before the US Open in order to cut down on travel for players competing at the final Grand Slam of the year.
Organisers said Thursday that this year’s event in Cincinnati would still be subject to health and safety protocols if deemed necessary.
The tournament is also moving to a fully digital ticket operation in order to streamline entry to the venue, while all transactions at the arena would be cashless.