DC tennis is back with fans in the stands

The D.C. summer tradition of watching professional tennis in Rock Creek Park is back with fans allowed to attend the Citi Open scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 8.

“Like so many Washingtonians over five decades, this tournament has been a huge part of my life,” said Citi Open chairman and chief executive officer Mark Ein, who started as a ball-boy at the tournament.

“It is a rite of passage in the summer to see the Tennis Center being activated, and we’re thrilled to be back. We’re building on the elevated fan experience from previous years and just based upon the phone ringing in recent weeks, we know that our entire community is really excited to have the Citi Open back this summer.”

The tournament, which dates back to 1969, was called off last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High demand is expected for tickets, with several sections of the William H.G. Fitzgerald Stadium already sold out because of fans who renewed their tickets from 2020, and with tournament capacity limited to 50% by the National Park Service, which operates the tennis center.

The Citi Open is one of only five U.S. professional tennis tournaments that include both men’s and women’s fields.

Nick Kyrgios is the defending men’s champion and Jessica Pegula won the women’s title in 2019.

The stop in Washington is one of the five largest tennis events in the United States, and after 50 years, it is also the longest-running professional tennis event at the same site in the U.S.

Players for this year’s Citi Open have not been announced, but the timing of the tournament might help add to the strength of the field.

“We are the only tournament in the world that week, and so if anyone wants to play, they’re playing here, and they already love coming here,” Ein said. “But in addition to the competition, we are deep believers that you need to have a world class fan experience with great food and beverage.”

To that end, Citi Open will bring back Market Square, a gourmet food hall that features food and beverage concepts from top local celebrity chefs.

David Chang, who grew up in Northern Virginia, will bring his Foku concept to the tournament and other new culinary additions include Root & Sprig by Tom Collichio, and offerings from chefs Marra Forni and Kim Crawford.

Tickets for the Citi Open go on sale to the general public Friday.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnson is Senior Sports Director and morning sports anchor. He first arrived at WTOP in 1989, left in 1992 and returned in 1995. He is a three-time winner of the A.I.R. award as best radio sportscaster in D.C. In 2008 he won the Edward R. Murrow award for best writing for sports commentaries.

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