Venus Williams To Make Citi Open Debut

Venus Williams (photo: Brigitte Urban)

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Venus Williams, whose four-decade tennis career has included winning seven major singles titles, four Olympic gold medals and reaching World No. 1, has never played in the Citi Open. Next month, that will change as the legendary, 42-year-old American champion has accepted a wild card from tournament organizers to compete in the singles draw of the WTA 250 event in the nation’s capital city.

The Citi Open, which runs from July 30 to August 7 at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in northwest Washington, represents a return to singles competition for Williams after nearly a year off the WTA Tour. She last appeared in a Tour event last August in Chicago. Recently, Williams played mixed doubles with Jamie Murray at the Wimbledon Championships.

“I am excited to be playing the Citi Open for the first time this summer,” Williams said in a statement released by the Citi Open. “I love Washington, D.C. and returning to the nation’s capital to play in front of a community that has supported me so strongly feels like a homecoming. I am looking forward to being back on the courts and competing in DC soon.”

With the additional of Williams, the Citi Open, which will also play host to an ATP 500 event, will host four former World No. 1 players, seven Grand Slam champions, four former Citi Open titlists, four Olympic gold medalists and 10 Top 20 players among the men’s and women’s draws. Williams is the latest to join an impressive women’s field that already includes reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu, 2019 Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens and former major titlists Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka. Meanwhile, the men’s field includes 2019 Citi Open champion Nick Kyrgios, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, World No. 8 Andrey Rublev and top-ranked American Taylor Fritz.

Williams is no stranger to Washington as she’s been a longtime member of the Washington Kastles of World TeamTennis. During her nine seasons with the team, she was a member of the undefeated 2011 and 2012 championship teams and was named WTT Finals most valuable player in 2012. However, Williams can now add the Citi Open to her storied list of tournament destinations.

Earlier this week, Williams accepted a wild card into the National Bank Open in Toronto, which takes place the week after the Citi Open, where she will join her younger sister Serena in the singles draw.

Citi Open Chairman Mark Ein said in a statement the Citi Open is thrilled to welcome Williams to the Citi Open and Washington, D.C. “and to give our fans a chance to cheer for one of the greatest athletes of all time in person.

“Venus is an icon who has transcended sports to become a role model for millions of people around the world and in our community. The opportunity to watch her live at the Citi Open for the first time will be a life-long memory for all of our fans.”

The Citi Open is one of only five combined ATP/WTA tournaments in the United States, featuring competition from both men and women. The Citi Open’s ATP 500 event, whose origins date back to 1969, will showcase 48 singles players and 16 doubles teams, while a revived WTA 250 tournament returns after a three-year hiatus and will feature 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams.