Kid’s Day at the Western & Southern Open featured a number of fan-friendly events to a nearly sold-out crowd. Approximately 1,000 children attended the event-packed day, including the opportunities to get player autographs, the chance to watch American stars play Quickstart tennis, a mini-tournament of games for fans to participate in, face painting, measuring serve speeds and more.
With the first day of qualifying underway, fans had the opportunity to watch some of their favorite players attempt to get into the main draw. In addition, top players including Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Andy Roddick, were also in tow on the practice courts, preparing for the main draw.
Highlighting the day’s Kid’s Day events was the appearance of ’07 Cincinnati finalist James Blake and recent Carlsbad quarterfinalist Sloane Stephens. The American duo played an exhibition match in the Quickstart tennis format. Instead of racquets, however, they were equipped with frying pans.
About her participation in the event, Stephens wrote on Twitter, "Just did kids day @CincyTennis with James Blake! It was too fun, hope you all had a good time :)."
At the conclusion of their unorthodox hitting session, the players hit autographed balls into the crowd.
Along with the opportunity to catch Blake and Stephens on court, there were also autograph signings. Two-time Wimbledon doubles finalists Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau were among those available. The duo will be seeded No. 6 in the doubles draw, enjoying a first round bye to get into the second round.
The doubles specialists were joined by Bastad titlist Polona Hercog of Slovenia and Canadian Rebecca Marino, who announced her arrival on Tour earlier this year by advancing to the Memphis final.
On Sunday, the conclusion of the qualifying tournament will be coupled with High School Day, which is hosted by Wellington Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine. The day will include a hands-on exhibition by professional stars, along with drills and lunch provided by Skyline-Chili.
By Benjamin Snyder