Citi Open hopes to allow fans into Washington tournament

andrewhendrie in News 13 May 2020
Citi Open Fans
Nick Kyrgios is the defending Citi Open men’s champion (Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © Chaz Niell/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Citi Open in Washington D.C. is hoping to become the first professional tennis tournament to return with fans in attendance.

Giving an update on YouTube, Citi Open tournament director Mark Ein said officials are planning to hold the tournament as originally scheduled in the first week of August – and aim to have a limited number of fans in the stands if government restrictions allow it.


“The chance of having 7,500 people a night at the beginning of August is extraordinarily low,” Ein said. “We haven’t ruled anything out at this point, but the chance of being able to pack a stadium, if you’re being realistic, is extremely low.

“Really we’re focused on scenarios where our hope would be that we can play it with some number of fans. We’re really thinking of hundreds to a thousand [fans].”

The Citi Open is a combined ATP and WTA event and classified as a 500 tournament for the men and International for the women.

Over 70,000 fans attended the tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Centre in Washington D.C. in 2019.

Ein believes the 2020 Citi Open would be a worldwide hit if some fans can roll through the gates during the first week of August.

“It would be unbelievably exciting,” Ein said. “We are the only men’s event on the global calendar that week. San Jose is also on the women’s side there. I think we’ll see whether they can figure out how to make it work. But this would be the first big, big event back in the tennis world.”

Ein also wanted to reiterate that the Citi Open would only allow fans to attend if it was guaranteed to be safe – and declared the tournament was also preparing to be staged without spectators.

“If we can pull it off that’s what’s motivating us, but we will not do it unless it can be absolutely safe,” Ein said. “If we can do it there’s some chance and you’ve been reading events are held with no fans snd that’s definitely something that’s being considered.

“To me, if you can figure that out then you can probably figure out how to have some amount of fans in a facility as big as ours.”