The WTA Tour Returns to Washington

May 26, 2022 03:27 PM

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Citi Open becomes one of only five combined ATP/WTA Tour events in the country

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Citi Open®, Washington, D.C.’s premier tennis tournament since 1969 and the fifth largest tennis event in the United States, has announced it will again host a WTA tournament in conjunction with its current ATP event. The Citi Open tournament is one of only five combined tour events in the country, featuring competition from both the ATP and WTA. The 2022 tournament will be held July 30 through August 7 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.

Citi Open’s revived WTA 250 event will celebrate its 10th edition this summer with a stacked player field, featuring 32 singles competitors, 16 doubles teams and 16 qualifiers. The inaugural tournament was staged in 2011 at College Park, MD and moved venues to Washington in 2012. Past champions include Jessica Pegula, Sloane Stephens and the doubles team of Coco Gauff and Caty McNally.

“Our Washington, D.C. community has embraced professional women’s tennis since World TeamTennis first came here in 2008 and the Citi Open tournament hosted its first WTA event in 2011. Our city and event attendees are avid women’s tennis fans, and tennis, uniquely among pro sports, showcases both genders on its biggest stages. Presenting a combined tournament with men’s and women’s players has always been the goal for the Citi Open,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open Chairman. “For the past two years, we have worked tirelessly to bring the Hologic WTA Tour back to our event and we are thrilled to announce both its return to D.C. this summer, as well as another big pro tournament coming back to the United States.”

In April 2019, MDE Sports, owned and led by Washington-based venture capitalist, entrepreneur and civic leader Ein, acquired the management rights of the Citi Open tournament from the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), a non-profit which provides free tennis and educational programs for children in underserved communities. This acquisition secured the Citi Open’s future in the U.S. and specifically in Washington.

MDE Sports has pursued ensuring that a WTA tournament is part of the long-term future for the Citi Open, with the objective of supporting women’s tennis, guaranteeing the game thrives in the U.S. and providing an opportunity for Washington’s large base of tennis fans to enjoy women’s tennis with a combined event.

“I am delighted the Citi Open is returning to the WTA tennis calendar this summer,” said Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “The tournament and the Washington community have a rich history on the Hologic WTA Tour, with many of the game’s biggest names gracing the courts in previous editions in the nation’s capital. I am grateful to the tournament organizers for their support and for providing the world’s best women's tennis players the opportunity to showcase their talent.”

The tournament team worked with Citi to ensure that women’s tennis remained a significant element of the event, as a commitment to educate, advocate and support women in sports.

“Citi is committed to advancing gender equity within our walls and in the communities we serve across the globe,” said Ed Skyler, Head of Global Public Affairs, Citi. “We are proud that women’s tennis is returning to the Citi Open tournament in D.C. because we know representation can transform societal perceptions and profoundly impact gender equity, especially in sports.”

For more than 50 years, the Citi Open has hosted top tennis talent in Rock Creek Park. The tournament was founded to support Arthur Ashe’s vision of playing a professional tennis tournament in a fully accessible public park. The Citi Open has continued to build and expand the event, with the goal of positively impacting the Washington community and creating one of the best events in the world. The WTEF, a longtime beneficiary of the Citi Open, capitalizes on the tournament annually for fundraising and has raised millions for youth programs in the Washington area.

“As the Sports Capital, we are thrilled to welcome women’s professional tennis alongside the men’s at the Citi Open. Representation matters – and this event provides our future female tennis stars an opportunity to see professional athletes compete on a national stage in their own community,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “The Citi Open is always an exciting time in DC, bringing entertainment and jobs. We are thankful for the commitment to ensuring equitable access to a sport loved by so many Washingtonians.”

Planning and player commitments are underway for the 2022 Citi Open. Last year’s tournament was the most successful in the event’s history, shattering previous attendance records and selling out all sessions throughout the week. Full tournament packages are on sale now and can be purchased via email at tickets@mdetennis.com or by calling (202) 721-9500. To learn more about the tournament, ticket options, player fields, event policies and more, visit citiopentennis.com.
 

About Citi Open: The Citi Open® tournament is Washington DC’s premier tennis event benefiting the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), the tournament’s non-profit owner and beneficiary. The tournament was founded in 1969 by Donald Dell, John Harris and Arthur Ashe in its current location in Rock Creek Park with a vision of making pro tennis accessible for all athletes and fans in the Washington community. Beginning in 2019, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Mark Ein’s organization, MDE Tennis, began managing and operating the tournament under an agreement with WTEF. The organization provides underserved children in the D.C. area with a safe environment to learn critical life skills both on and off the courts through academic and athletic enrichment. The Citi Open tennis tournament is one of only five combined tour events in the country, featuring player fields from both the ATP and WTA. The tournament is also one of 13 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. 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 United States.

About MDE Tennis: MDE Tennis, which is part of MDE Sports & Entertainment, oversees operations for Citi Open and the Washington Kastles. Mark D. Ein is the CEO of MDE Sports & Entertainment and MDE Tennis. Ein is an investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who has created, acquired, invested in and built a series of growth companies across a diverse set of industries over the course of his 30-year career. During this time, Ein has been involved in the founding or early stages of six companies that have been worth over one billion dollars and has led over $3.0 billion of private equity, venture capital, and public company investments. . Ein is the Founder and CEO of Capitol Investment Corporation, Venturehouse Group, LLC and Leland Investment Co.

Ein is deeply dedicated to supporting his Washington area community with active leadership roles on many community, charitable and cultural organizations including currently serving on the boards of the DC Public Education Fund (Chairman), DC College Access Program (DC-CAP), and DC Policy Center (Co-Founder). He formerly served on the Board of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) from 2012-2018 (serving as a Vice President of the Board from 2016-2018). Ein has been a member of the World Economic Forum since 2016, and the Gridiron Club, the oldest and one of the most prestigious journalistic organizations in Washington, D.C.

A native of the Washington, D.C., area and a ball boy in his youth at the city’s summer pro tennis tournament that became the Citi Open, Ein is also the Founder and Owner of the Washington Kastles, the most successful team in World TeamTennis history. The Kastles have won the league championship six of its 12 years since its founding and holds the record for the longest winning streak in U.S. pro team sports history winning 34 straight matches from 2011 through 2013. In September 2009, Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty presented Ein with the Key to the City, highlighting his Washington Kastles success on the court and, “for their commitment to the District’s communities and our youth.”

In September 2018, Ein founded the Washington Justice esports franchise in the Overwatch League, bringing the premier global esports league to the greater Washington, D.C. region. Also, in 2018, Ein acquired the Washington City Paper, the renowned weekly paper serving the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area since 1981. In 2019, Ein took over management and operation of Citi Open in Washington, D.C., one of only five U.S. professional tennis tournaments that include both men’s and women’s fields.

About US Open Series: The US Open Series serves as a true “regular season” of summer tennis in North America, linking nine summer WTA and ATP Tour tournaments to the US Open. Featuring a cohesive weekly schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today's top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow's emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grass-roots youth tennis clinics and activities.

About Citi: Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. Additional information may be found at citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: youtube.com/citi | Blog: /blog.citigroup.com | Facebook:facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/citi.

About WTEF: The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) is a premier educational and tennis organization for underserved children in Washington, D.C. The mission of WTEF is to improve the life prospects of low-income, underserved children and youth in the District of Columbia through athletic and academic enrichment. WTEF seeks to keep children off city streets during out-of-school time in a safe environment they can trust. We also engage them in productive activities that teach discipline, build confidence, improve school performance, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. WTEF empowers students to achieve their highest potential by helping them develop meaningful values and critical life skills that will lead them to make constructive life choices. WTEF builds life champions. For more information, visit wtef.org.

 

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