2019 Cincinnati Masters Preview: Big 4 of Federer, Djokovic, Nadal and Murray reunites at a Masters 1000 for first time since 2017 Indian Wells
In the 7th Masters 1000 tournament of the season in Cincinnati, the big four of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Andy Murray reunite at a Masters 1000 event for the first time since 2017 Indian Wells.
Djokovic returns as the defending champion after his historic title win over Federer last year made him the first player to complete a 'career Masters 1000'.
With its first edition played in 1899 on clay, Cincinnati is the oldest tennis tournament to be played in its original city. Since 1979, the event has been held on hardcourt.
The Cincinnati Masters is one of only three Masters 1000 events, the others being Madrid and Coupe Rogers, to be won by each member of the big 4.
Cincinnati is the happiest Masters 1000 stop on the calendar for Roger Federer where the Swiss has triumphed a record seven times (2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2012, 2014-15).
Federer had a perfect record in Cincinnati finals till he came up short against Djokovic in the 2018 title match. The Swiss holds the record for most finals (8) and most match wins in Cincinnati (46).
Djokovic has the less envious record of most runner-up finishes (5) at the tournament.
Michael Chang's four consecutive Cincinnati finals (won in 1993-94 against Edberg and lost in 1995-96 to Agassi) is a tournament record.
Mats Wilander is the only other player to do so, winning Cincinnati titles in 1983-84 and 1986 and coming up short in the 1985 final against Becker.
Rafael Nadal (2013), Andy Roddick (2003), Patrick Rafter (1998), Andre Agassi (1995) and Eddie Dibbs (1978) are the only players in the Open Era to have won the "Coupe Rogers - Cincinnati" double in the same season. Andy Murray won his first Masters 1000 title at 2008 Cincinnati.
Let's have a look at the most successful players at the Cincinnati Masters.
#3 Andre Agassi (3 titles)
Agassi is a three-time champion at Cincinnati, winning his first two titles at the event in 1995-96 over Michael Chang and a third title in 2004 against Lleyton Hewitt.
The American is one of only four players (Nadal, Roddick, and Rafter being the others) in the last 25 years to have won the 'Coupe Rogers - Cincinnati' double in the same season, doing so in 1995.
#3 Pete Sampras (3 titles)
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras is another three-time winner at Cincinnati. Following a defeat to Frenchman Guy Forget in his first Cincinnati final in 1991, Sampras would win his first two titles at the event in 1992 and 1997. After a second final defeat at the event in 1998 to Patrick Rafter, Sampras conquered the Australian to triumph for a third time at Cincinnati in 1999.
#2 Mats Wilander (4 titles)
The Swede is a four-time champion at Cincinnati, winning titles in 1983-84, 1986 and 1989.
Along with Michael Chang, Wilander is one of only two players to have played four consecutive Cincinnati finals (1983-86).
#1 Roger Federer (7 titles)
Roger Federer, with seven titles is the most successful player at Cincinnati, triumphing at the event in 2005, 2007, 2009-10, 2012 and 2014-15.
The Swiss was perfect in Cincinnati finals till he came up short in the 2018 title match against Djokovic.
Federer's 46 match wins at Cincinnati is a tournament record.
Three of Federer's six victories in a tournament final over world no.1 Djokovic have come at Cincinnati (2009, 2012, 2015).
Federer's bid to become the oldest Cincinnati champion, since 35-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1970, was thwarted by Djokovic in the 2018 final. Would the Swiss go one better this year?