Watch for JJ Wolf sightings in Mason


He’s been coming to the event since he was in a stroller, surrounded by arguably the most talented tennis players in Cincinnati. Most were from his own family.

JJ Wolf is now making his fifth appearance at the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Tennis Center in Mason. His father Jeff won six Cincinnati Metropolitan tennis titles and played here. Jeff bested his brother Marty’s five Met titles and Steve, Greg, Daniel and David were all agile with the racquet thanks to family patriarch Charley Wolf.

At age 44, Charley Wolf took to the game. A multi-sport standout at St. Xavier High School, JJ’s grandfather recognized right away that he could improve the footwork of his sons with the outdoor discipline around a net. The Wolfs were normally around a basketball net as Charley also happened to coach the NBA Cincinnati Royals at one time.

JJ hopes his grandfather can attend and remembers a comment a spectator once made to him while he was watching his grandson.

“You must be a big fan,” it was said.

Charley Wolf replied, “I’m not a fan, I’m a player.”

JJ Wolf part of the Wolf family tennis dynasty in Cincinnati plays in the main draw of the Western & Southern Open this year around friendly fans.

Now with a USTA ranking of 84, the 23-year-old former Ohio State Buckeye star is back for his fifth go-round in friendly surroundings in Mason. He was given a wild-card entry into the main draw and will face Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori Sunday.

“It just feels like home being back here,” Wolf said. “There’s a lot of family watching which is hard in a sport like tennis which is worldwide.”

His afternoon practice on Court 12 Saturday showed that Wolf has lost the mullet hairstyle but has gained a sponsor. He wore a Greyson hat to his interview, which he took off while practicing showing his new, sheared, aerodynamic look. He also was sporting a shirt with a wolf logo, courtesy of the same company.

Given the number of tennis fans in and around the Wolf family, you may see more of the same this week in Mason. JJ has enjoyed his time at his parents’ home in his own bed and the home cooking. His grin is ear-to-ear knowing that mother Brooke is laundering his sponsored shorts in the family washing machine as opposed to a random hotel unit in another town.

“This is my favorite tournament,” Wolf said. “I think it’s a very popular tournament with a lot of the players. I just feel comfortable at home. With Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, everyone’s going to want to come out.”

The Wolfpack hopes to see more hometown magic from the former Cincinnati Country Day product (he was part of a state team championship there). In 2018, at age 19, he shocked then-No. 85 in the world Jozef Kovalik 7-6, 7-6 in front of his wildly cheering family. He’s also been able to practice with the great Roger Federer.

Wolf just came from Washington DC where he made the quarterfinals. After this week’s run in Mason, he’s off to the US Open chasing more rapid-fired volleys and dreams.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: JJ Wolf relying on comforts of home at W&S Open tennis tournament

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