Tournament Director and CEO hosts tennis superstars in the Queen City
By Noah Tong
For the last three years, Andre Silva has overseen the largest professional tennis competition in Cincinnati. Silva ensures the event’s vision aligns with customer expectations. This year’s event will take place from Saturday, Aug. 10, to Sunday, Aug. 18. We spoke with Silva to learn more.
Did you grow up around tennis? What sparked your passion of tennis, and why do you choose to work in the tennis industry?
I started playing tennis when I was 9. I’m originally from Brazil. My father played, he’s the one who got the bug and gave it to my brother and I. Tennis has given me everything. It’s given me an education here in the U.S.—my brother and I played in college together. Tennis has been in our blood. I’ve been around the game for a while and I love it.
Why do you think W&S Open is such a special event for Cincinnati?
I think there are a couple things. We have gotten the support of the players that come in every year. Seeing the list of champions that come to play is quite amazing. That is not something everyone has in the world of tennis, or even in sports, where you can say the top of the top is coming to play in your town. This event also has the feel of Cincinnati. We make sure to provide Midwest hospitality and that people feel comfortable here and feel safe. I think that’s a great combo.
What’s the role interns and volunteers play when putting on a huge event like this?
We probably couldn’t be where we are today without the volunteers and the interns. We have a staff of 14 people, which as you can imagine at a tournament of this size, 14 people is not enough. So, they play a very important role. One thing that is unique from an intern perspective is we give them a lot of latitude to let them to make their own decisions. They know where we need to go, they know what we need to achieve, but the experience is not only to listen and absorb, but really do more than that and take a leadership role.
What might you say to the individuals or families who may be looking for something to do, but don’t have much exposure to tennis?
There’s more than tennis. First of all, there’s entertainment throughout all the grounds. You have fans playing, different [activities] from partners and you can see players practicing and having a great time. At the same time, even if you haven’t had exposure to the game of tennis live, tennis is one of those sports that once you see live you really appreciate. I challenge anyone who comes and watches superstars play to not say that what they do is impressive. Come and enjoy everything and give tennis a chance because you will leave impressed.