Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio has international reach - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Western & Southern Open has international reach

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MASON, OH (FOX19) -

The Western & Southern Open brings world-class tennis to our own backyard, and for one week in August each year, the world's eyes are focused on Mason, Ohio.

Every state in America is represented at the tournament, as well as 20 countries around the world.

Juan Jose Valdes is one of many die-hard tennis fans in town to see the ATP World Tour event. He was sporting his Roger Federer gear on Friday to cheer on one of the all-time greats.

Valdes says after moving from his home country of Mexico just months ago, he was destined to find a place to see some tennis.

"As soon as I knew I was moving to Detroit, the first thing that I was looking on the web was which was the closest tournament. If that one was in New Orleans or Miami or Cincinnati, and that's why I am here," said Valdez.

He's been to other bigger tennis tournaments, but he says there's something special about this one.

"The main difference is the U.S. Open is kind of huge, so here you have more contact with the players and that's awesome," Valdez explained.

Tournament officials including Jackie Reau say the Western & Southern Open has a $63 million impact on the region, in large part because of all the people who travel to see their favorite athletes.

"Tennis is such a great international sport, so we see fans and players that are here from around the world, Russia, Poland, South America, so it's really exciting to see the fans come and see Cincinnati, our region," said Reau. "Not only are they enjoying great tennis, they're enjoying our region, our restaurants, our attractions."

Reau says over 3/4 of the fans attending the Western & Southern Open travel a distance of two hours or more.

"They stay on an average of five days, so over a 10 day tournament, fans are going to see a lot of action," added Reau.

Valdes says he arrived in town on Friday and will be here through Sunday.

He's already mentally planning his next trip, "It's definitely great. I think I'm going to be here like every single year."

The action continues Saturday morning into Sunday. Tournament officials say they had 176,000 fans come out to the Western & Southern Open in 2012. This year, they're on track to meet or exceed that mark.

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