Rafael Nadal Headlines 2021 Citi Open

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Citi Open has had Grand Slam champions before. Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl,…

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Citi Open has had Grand Slam champions before. Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi all won multiple Slams, but not 20!

That changed this morning, when tournament officials announced that all-time great and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will make his Washington debut this summer at the 2021 Citi Open, which will be held this year from July 31 – August 8 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, heralding a historic return of Washington’s summer tennis tradition for the 52nd year.

Currently ranked No. 3 in the world, Nadal is arguably the greatest tennis player in the history of the sport. The Spaniard has won an astounding 13 Roland Garros singles titles and his run of 81 consecutive victories on clay is the longest single-surface winning streak in the Open Era; but Nadal’s dominance in the game transcends surfaces. Born in Mallorca, he has held the world No. 1 ranking for 209 weeks, finishing year-end No. 1 five times, and, to date, has won 88 ATP singles titles, including 36 Masters 1000 (an all-time record shared with Novak Djokovic) and 20 Grand Slam titles (the all-time record shared with Roger Federer.) Additionally, Nadal is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, winning singles gold, in 2008, at the Beijing Games and doubles in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016.

«I am very excited to come to Washington for the first time,» said Nadal. «I have never been there and it’s one more place I wanted to come and play. I am looking forward to playing again and Washington shall be the best start for the US Summer Swing for me. Looking forward to seeing again my US fans that I haven’t seen since I won the 2019 US Open in NYC!. Vamos!»

«We are thrilled to welcome Rafael Nadal, who is not just one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, but also a global sporting icon and inspiring role model to our Washington community this summer,» said Citi Open Chairman and CEO of MDE Tennis Mark Ein. «I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the joyous return of the things we cherish like live sports, coming together as a community and our historic event than having Rafa and the rest of our very deep and exciting player field competing for the Citi Open title.»

Full-tournament and single-session tickets are on sale now, but due to limited 50-percent fan capacity at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, and overwhelming demand for full-tournament ticket packages, as well as single session seats sold, tickets are already 85% sold out.

Remaining tournament packages, sponsorship opportunities, and single-session tickets are available at Etix.com/Citi Open Tennis Tournament or by contacting Citi Open at (202) 721-9500 or  tickets@MDEtennis.com today.

In his Citi Open debut, Nadal will look to claim his 89th ATP title, but will contend with a very deep field of contenders, including Canadians world No. 12 Denis Shapovalov and Next-Gen ATP star world No. 19 Felix Auger-Aliassime, Polish world No. 18 and 2021 Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz, and Russian world No. 29 Karen Khachanov, who collectively comprise four of the recent eight Wimbledon quarterfinalists.

Of the four, Shapovalov is the only player with a win over the Spanish great and just bested Khachanov to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon. Hurkacz also advanced to the final-four at the All England Club, defeating eight-time champion Federer in straight sets. Meanwhile, Auger-Aliassime, at the age of 20, is the youngest player ranked inside the world’s top-20 and is currently being coached by Nadal’s famous «Uncle Toni.»

American world No. 50 Sebastian Korda, 21, and Italian world No. 23 Jannik Sinner, 20, are two more notable Next-Gen stars hoping to make a breakthrough in Rock Creek Park. Since winning the Next-Gen ATP Finals in Milan, in 2019, Sinner has notched two ATP titles and this year reached the final of the Miami Open and fourth round at Roland Garros, before he was stopped by Nadal. Korda, son of former world No. 2 and Australian Open champion Petr Korda, began this season with a final finish at the Delray Beach Open and won his first ATP title this spring in Parma, without losing a set.   

Australian world No. 15 Alex de Minaur will be a tough fan favorite to beat. The 22-year-old Aussie and five-time ATP titlist was a finalist at the 2018 Citi Open and he won over DC sports fans during his memorable semifinal victory over Andrey Rublev, saving four match points in a three-set thriller.

The top American ranking will also be up for grabs in DC. Three-time Citi Open finalist John Isner has held the US No. 1 ranking longer than any active player, finishing No. 1 eight of the last nine years. The only player with a better record was three-time Citi Open champion Jimmy Connors (1976, 1978, 1988,) who held the top spot for 9 years. But this spring, California native Taylor Fritz supplanted Isner after making deep runs in Doha, Miami, and Cagliari. The pair were log-jammed with Fritz ranked world No. 33 and Isner No. 34 going into the French Open, but by the end of the tournament, it was 6-foot 11-inch, Michigan giant and current world No. 32 Reilly Opelka who took the top ranking, following a third-round Roland Garros finish. The trio are currently ranked within eight spots of each other and any one of them could emerge from the Citi Open as the US No. 1.

There are also two former champions in the mix, current world No. 22 Milos Raonic (2014) and world No. 53 Kei Nishikori (2015), both of whom are seeking to pick up a second Washington title. Raonic made his Rock Creek Park debut in 2013 and won his maiden DC title the following year at the 2014 Citi Open. Ranked as high as No. 3 in the world, the 30-year-old Canadian will look to win his ninth ATP title in Washington. Nishikori won the men’s singles championship in 2015, the year he reached a career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world, and the summer after he reached the final of the US Open. He memorably defeated Nadal to win the bronze medal at the Summer Olympics, bringing Japan its first Olympic tennis medal in 96 years.

Also making his Washington debut, British world No. 34 Cam Norrie aims to win his first ATP title at the Citi Open and surpass Dan Evans for his country’s top ranking. Norrie recently reached the third of Wimbledon but was stopped by Federer in four sets.

Elsewhere, Bulgarian world No. 21 Grigor Dimitrov, former American No. 1 and former Washington Kastles star Sam Querrey, and hometown favorite Frances Tiafoe are just a few of the names who will join previously-announced defending 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios to complete an unprecedented player field, each of whom is capable of beating anyone in the field.

Additionally, the Citi Open still has five wildcards remaining to be announced before and during the 2021 Tokyo Olympic games.

The 2021 Citi Open will include three Olympic hopefuls in the inaugural Citi Open Women’s Invitational, as American world No. 15 and 2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady and American world No. 26 and 2019 Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula take aim at previously-announced American teen icon and 2019 Citi Open women’s doubles champion Coco Gauff, directly after the 2021 Tokyo Games, in a three-day tournament featuring doubles and singles matches August 5-7, designed to showcase great tennis, while inspiring youth in the greater Washington, DC community.

Brady is currently one of the hottest players on tour. The 26-year-old, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native and UCLA alum first rose to prominence at the 2020 US Open, where she made an inspired run to the semifinals, and she hasn’t slowed down since. Earlier this year, she reached her first Grand Slam final at the 2021 Australian Open and was recently selected as one of four singles players named to the US Olympic team to contest the 2021 Tokyo Games.

Pegula is another fast, rising star. The 27-year-old daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula won over DC tennis fans in 2019, when she captured her maiden WTA singles title at the Citi Open. Since then, Pegula’s career has blossomed. She began 2021 ranked No. 62 in the world, but a string of consistent results, including a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open and six top-10 wins, have catapulted her to a career-high No. 26 ranking. Pegula was also named to the U.S. Olympic women’s tennis team joining Brady, Gauff, and Alison Riske to compete for the singles medal.

To learn more and get your tickets to the 2021 Citi Open visit citiopentennis.com and subscribe to the official tournament newsletter, and be sure to follow Citi Open’s official social media channels on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook @citiopen.

About Citi Open

The Citi Open® tournament has been Washington, D.C.’s premier tennis event since 1969 and benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), the tournament’s non-profit owner and beneficiary. Beginning in 2019, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Mark Ein took over management and operation of the tournament under an agreement with WTEF. The organization provides underserved children in the DC-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 13 elite ATP World Tour 500-level events worldwide and the only one held in the United States. The tournament also features a women’s invitational tournament, which provides fans the opportunity to watch simultaneous competitions of both world-class men’s and women’s tennis throughout the nine-day event. Washington is one of the five largest tennis events in the United States, and after 50 years, it is also the longest-running pro 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 as well as the Washington Justice esports team and the legendary newspaper, the Washington CityPaper. Mark D. Ein is the Owner and CEO of MDE Sports & Entertainment and its MDE Tennis subsidiary.

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. He is currently the Chairman of Kastle Systems, Lindblad Expeditions, Capitol Investment Corp. V and is on the board of directors of Soho House and Custom One Truck Source.

Ein actively supports many community, charitable and cultural organizations and currently serves on the boards of the DC Public Education Fund (Chairman), the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, DC College Access Program (DC-CAP), and the 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 14 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 the longest-running professional tennis tournaments in the world now in its 52nd year.

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 ATP

The ATP is the governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuits – the ATP Tour, the ATP Challenger Tour and the ATP Champions Tour. With 63 tournaments in 30 countries, the ATP Tour showcases the finest male athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues. From Australia to Europe and the Americas to Asia, the stars of the 2019 ATP Tour will battle for prestigious titles and ATP Rankings points at ATP Masters 1000, 500 and 250 events, as well as Grand Slams (non-ATP events). At the end of the season, only the world’s top 8 qualified singles players and doubles teams will qualify to compete for the last title of the season at the Nitto ATP Finals. Held at The O2 in London, the event will officially crown the 2020 ATP Tour No. 1. For more information, please visit www.ATPTour.com.

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 www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.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 www.wtef.org.

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