Olympic hangover? What Olympic hangover? Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Open is hitting its stride this week. Wednesday’s action will include top seeds Roger Federer and Agnieszka Radwanska along with Andy Murray (vs. Sam Querrey), Novak Djokovic, Venus Williams, Li Na and Petra Kvitova. Now that’s a hot ticket! (Order of play here). GTT’s gal in Cincy, Andrea Nay, kicks off her coverage for us this week with some tasty press conference tidbits.
Commemorative pin trading has long been a spectator sport at the Olympic Games. Fans, media, and staff join serious pin collecting hobbyists in a quest for the coveted souvenirs.
Who else is in on the fun? The athletes, including both Serena and Venus Williams. The pins, unlike coveted medals, are not made of gold. Traders are in it solely for the sentimental value, and the Williams Sisters were especially proud of their 2012 haul from London.
”Liezel Huber was making a good run for it,” said Serena. “But I got North Korea.”
Venus wasn’t ready to concede defeat. “My best pin was Tajikistan,” she proudly announced. “That was the score for me. She didn’t get that one, I didn’t get North Korea, so we’re even.”
Banner Joy for Nole
Novak Djokovic carried Serbia’s flag in London’s Opening Ceremonies. He had this to say about his duties: “Oh, it was a very ecstatic experience full of joy and pleasure. It was an extreme privilege and honor for me to be selected as flag bearer for my country.” Although Nole didn’t bring home a medal, a return to the hard courts and bounce-back victory in Toronto should boost his confidence heading into this week.
What Olympic Hangover?
The Olympics were the highlight of the year for many tennis stars. No question. Squished between the Games and the US Open, a Masters tournament like Cincinnati might feel overshadowed by all the glitz of London and New York. Or, not.
Andy Murray, here to defend his 2011 Western & Southern Open title, met the press upon arrival in Ohio. After declaring his Gold singles and Silver mixed doubles performances “the most fun I’ve had on a tennis court,” Murray got right back to business. Though he skipped Toronto, he called Cincinnati, “a very, very important tournament for the players.” A sign he’s moved on from the Olympic hysteria? He wasn’t entirely sure where his medals were and had to call his girlfriend Kim Sears to confirm they’d been left atop a random cabinet.
Roger Federer, a four-time winner here, was quick to define and defend Cincinnati as a goal in itself.
“I play to win everywhere I go to,” said Federer. “The preparation for New York, that’s going to happen next week. But this ain’t the preparation week, this is tournament week.”
Andrea Nay is a freelance photojournalist based in Western Ohio. When she isn’t chasing aces on the court in Cincy, she’s capturing college football, concerts, and travel. Find more of her work at AndreaNay.com.