In a partnership that joins two of the region's most enduring legacies, the Western & Southern Open and the Rookwood Pottery Co. have agreed to produce the Center Court Rookwood Cup, the first ATP World Tour and WTA trophy to carry the historic Rookwood name.
Under terms of the agreement, Rookwood will create two perpetual trophies for tournament use and 12 smaller trophies to be distributed to the players - six champion and six runners-up, including doubles. It is the third consecutive year that Rookwood created the player trophies - the first it has naming rights - and all will be handcrafted at Rookwood's studios in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati.
"Both Rookwood and the Western & Southern Open have rich Cincinnati histories reaching back more than a century," said Martin Wade, owner of Rookwood Pottery. "In fact, in 1899, the year of the first tournament, Rookwood's artists created the winner mementos, including a tankard and six ale mugs, as well as a tobacco case.
"Today, the Rookwood Cup represents the best of the trophy line made by Rookwood artists and is a continued source of Cincinnati pride and vision."
The 2013 tournament will be played from Aug 10 to 18 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. About 60 million television viewers from 160 countries are expected to watch as Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova compete to win the Rookwood Cup. Immediately following the tournament, the cups will be shipped to winners and runners-up in places as far off as China, Serbia and Belgium - much like the 2012 World Choir Games trophies, also created by Rookwood Pottery.
"The tournament has grown exponentially over the past century and is seen across the globe," said Western & Southern Open CEO Elaine Bruening. "We think it's a perfect chance to show off the beauty and artistry of our city to the world, and that's why we chose Rookwood."
The trophies have come a long way since 1899. As part of the agreement, Cincinnati artist Roy Robinson redesigned this year's trophies for Rookwood, making them slightly smaller and lighter, with an earthier glaze palette of burgundy and green. Rookwood's own artists did the sculptural and molding work, including the foliage that carries over the lip of the cup.
The Center Court Rookwood Cup will be on display at the entrance to the player's lounge, it will be televised on court during the finals, and the Rookwood Cup name will be written into the final script of CBS announcers, reaching millions. The 2011 Western & Southern Open, for instance, attracted 58.9 million TV viewers, with 8.65 million domestic and 50.3 million international, according to Western & Southern Open.