Monday, August 12, 2002

Weather, fans favor Masters

Despite talk of moving tournament, this year a hit

By Cindi Andrews,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Dark skies roll in as Lleyton Hewitt returns a shot to Carlos Moya during the final of the Western & Southern Financial Group Tennis Masters at the ATP Tennis Center in Mason Sunday.
(Greg Ruffing photo)
| ZOOM |
        MASON — Fans and vendors declared the Western & Southern Financial Masters a success Sunday, although attendance going into the championship match was slightly off 2001.

        “I think it's been one of the better ones,” said Marilyn Weil of West Chester, who has been attending the tennis tournament since it was played at Coney Island. “Good crowds; the weather has accommodated.”

        The only shadow, she said, was talk that the Masters tournament, one of the top 13 men's tennis events in the world, may have to leave Cincinnati if it can't work out a deal to buy the ATP Tennis Center.

        “I'm sick about it,” Ms. Weil said. “Tell them, "Don't move the tournament.' ”

        Otherwise, the sun shone on tennis in Mason this week. The nearly 2 -hour rain delay that interrupted the face-off between Lleyton Hewitt and Carlos Moya was the first wet stuff of the 10-day tournament.

        “It's the best year we've had,” said Wally Honer, whose Midwest Espresso and Crepes stand has been here for seven years.

        Still, tournament numbers show attendance through Saturday about 2.8 percent lower than the first nine days of 2001. Tournament officials largely blame a new law that restricts drug companies' ability to give doctors free tickets to sports events.

        But the waning competitiveness of Americans on the men's ATP Tour also may be a factor. Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, the last Americans standing this week, lost in Friday's quarterfinals.

        “There aren't that many good USA men,” lamented Dottie Braun of Finneytown.

        It will be months before the nonprofit tournament determines the amount raised Children's Hospital Medical Center and the National Junior Tennis League.

Moya too much for No. 1 Hewitt
Hewitt unable to recover after Moya puts him in a spin cycle
Martin, Blake make big pitch for Davis Cup
Q&A with ATP Tour CEO Mark Miles
- Weather, fans favor Masters

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