Washington, D.C. fans will celebrate the return of the Citi Open in full voice next month after Thursday’s announcement that the tournament will be held at 100 per cent fan capacity.
After last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic, MDE Sports took great delight in also announcing that the tournament would pay full prizemoney. The ATP 500 tennis tournament will be held 31 July-8 August at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. The announcement comes after the National Park Service (NPS), which manages Rock Creek Park, issued updated guidelines to enable full capacity for Citi Open Fans.
“We are thrilled to be able to invite fans back to Rock Creek Park at full capacity,” said Mark Ein, Citi Open chairman and CEO of MDE Tennis. “This is an exciting development, not just for tennis fans, but the whole DC community. We are grateful to the National Park Service for their long partnership with the event and enabling full capacity for the 2021 Citi Open.”
The development has also enabled organisers to restore full tournament prize money. In order to hold the event at the initial 50 per cent fan capacity limit, players agreed to a 40 per cent pay reduction. With all fan restrictions lifted and before any additional tickets are sold, MDE Sports increased the total 2021 Citi Open prize money by $750,000, returning the tournament purse to pre-pandemic levels.
“We are especially pleased to be able to pay the players full prize money after a difficult period of time for many on tour,” added Ein. “It is all something we never thought possible just a few months ago. To do this and welcome back fans without any restrictions is a testament to the resilience of this city and our community. We can’t wait to see the faces and hear the roar of full crowds once again. It will be a very special moment in the history of this great tournament.”
“To see this event bounce back from challenges of the last year and announce full prize money for 2021 is fantastic news,” said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “It sends a positive message of recovery for our entire sport. We would like to recognise Mark Ein and the Citi Open team for the hard work and ambition that made this possible.”
The news follows the recent announcement that Rafael Nadal will begin his bid to win a record-setting 21st Grand Slam at the 2021 Citi Open in his Washington debut. With fan attendance originally restricted to 50 per cent capacity, tickets were already substantially sold out before the announcement of Nadal’s commitment. The news topped 1.2 billion media impressions worldwide and has led to overwhelming demand for tickets to see the Spaniard win his 89th ATP title at the historic US Open Series event in DC’s Rock Creek Park.
The tournament’s waitlist for tickets exceeded 6,800 names before fan restrictions were lifted Thursday morning. The revised capacity guidelines have allowed tournament officials to release approximately 3,000 additional daily seats to meet the unprecedented demand at the box office for the event. These tickets will be made available first to fans currently on, or who join, the waitlist on a full tournament basis. To provide greater accessibility, the tournament has reserved a small number of individual session tickets that will be available for sale next week.
In addition to Nadal, the 2021 Citi Open will also feature a star-studded player field comprised of two Top 10, six Top 20, and 11 Top 30 players, including recent Wimbledon semi-finalists Hubert Hurkacz and new world No. 10 Denis Shapovalov, Wimbledon quarter-finalists Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov, and defending 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios, as well as US Olympic team stars Coco Gauff, Jennifer Brady, and Jessica Pegula, who will headline the inaugural Citi Open Women’s Invitational.