The Citi Open, an ATP 500 event, has experienced a change in management but will remain in Washington, D.C., it was announced on Wednesday. Washington-based venture capitalist Mark Ein has acquired the tournament management rights from the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, a non-profit that provides free tennis and educational programs for children in undeserved communities.
Ein has the option to buy the tournament within five years. He shared the news at the tournament’s home since it was first contested in July 1969, the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center, along with #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe and fellow D.C. native Denis Kudla, No. 84 in the ATP Rankings. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 4 City Councilmember Brandon Todd and WTEF President/CEO Rebecca Crouch also attended.
WTEF held a six-month bidding process that attracted worldwide interest, but Ein’s experience, his commitment to keep the storied tournament in the U.S. capital and his ongoing support for WTEF helped the entrepreneur stand out.
Ein grew up close to the tournament site, served as a ball kid at the tournament for many years in his youth and has attended the event throughout his life.
“I grew up with this tournament and I know first-hand the profound impact it can have on individuals like myself and on our community more broadly, so I am thrilled that we were able to come to an agreement to keep this very special event here in Washington,” he said. “This is an iconic tournament on the world stage that has been woven into the fabric of our local community across many generations. I am grateful to the board and leadership of WTEF for working with me to keep the event here, and we now need the continued engagement of the [National Park Service], city leadership and our business and tennis communities to make sure this tournament remains in the District for future generations to enjoy.”
Since the first Citi Open in 1969, the tournament has featured some of the Tour’s great champions, including Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Michael Chang, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, as well as the players who dominate the singles game today, such as Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner and Alexander Zverev.