Women’s tennis upgrade: DC’s Citi Open merges with Silicon Valley Classic

Liudmila Samsonova, of Russia, hoists the trophy after she won the final at the Citi Open tennis tournament against Kaia Kanepi, of Estonia, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Summer pro tennis in D.C.’s Rock Creek Park will have will have a little more meaning starting this year.

The Citi Open will combine with the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic from San Jose, California, to create the Mubadala City DC Open beginning in 2023. According to a news release, combining both events elevates D.C.’s women’s tennis tournament into WTA 500 level, meaning higher-level players would be able attend to play with a higher cash prize at stake.

The move is subject to ATP Board approval.

The men’s tournament will continue to be a feature of the Citi Open and will not be affected by the merger. If approved, the D.C. event will become the only ATP-WTA 500-level tennis tournament in the world, according to the release.

“Being able to showcase men and women at the same highest-level events is one of the things that makes tennis so special, and this move solidifies the Mubadala Citi DC Open as one of the premiere professional tennis tournaments in the world,” Mark Ein, the tournament’s chairman, said in a statement.

The Citi Open expanded to re-introduce women’s tennis as part of its event last year, following a three-year hiatus. At the time, Ein said it was the Citi Open’s goal to create a long-term partnership to keep women’s tennis as part of the tournament’s future.

“Since we took over the Citi Open in 2019, one of our top goals was to secure the long-term rights to host an equal level WTA 500 event in combination with our historic ATP 500 event that is beloved by our community and that has been a highlight of summers in Washington for 53 years,” Ein said. “We are thrilled to now make that a reality and are deeply grateful to Mubadala and Citi for this unique and impactful partnership.”

The women’s circuit began coming to the Citi Open in 2011, but with it falling close to the U.S. Open, many high-ranking players ended up passing the event. Instead, past WTA tournaments became as a springboard for some of the sport’s best players. Americans Sloane Stephens (2015) and Jessica Pegula (2019) both earned their maiden WTA titles in D.C.

In it’s return in 2022, Russian Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s singles title, while Pegula and Erin Routliffe won the women’s doubles tournament.

The Mubadala Citi DC Open is the fifth-largest pro tennis event in the U.S. and is set to take place between July 29 and  Aug. 6 at the Rock Creek Tennis Center in Northwest.

Ticket packages for the event are available online, and individual session seats will be sold at a later date. More than half of the lower bowl is already sold out, organizers said.

WTOP’s Ben Raby contributed to this report. 

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José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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