WASHINGTON - As the Citi Open enters its 51st year as Washington, D.C.'s premier tennis tournament, there are a lot of changes on the grounds of the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
For years it has been a staple on the D.C. sports calendar. Now, as the event celebrated its 50th anniversary a year ago, there are significant additions to the park. There was already a unique vibe around the tournament not seen at other sporting events. This year there is going to be an even greater emphasis on the fan experience.
So here is what is new for the 2019 Citi Open.
Two words completely change how fans take-in the Citi Open: air conditioning. This year there is a new, fully-enclosed air-conditioned tent that will have food options, a relaxing lounge, and still allows fans to view what is going on around the grounds. The tournament takes place each year during the first week of August, so giving fans a break from the heat is sure to be a welcomed addition. The tent will be open to all fans without an additional fee.
At Market Square, there will be new food vendors to amplify how fans enjoy their time at the Citi Open. Here there are Butterfly Tacos y Tortas, Dukes Grocery, Beefsteak and Dolcezza Gelato and Coffee as new culinary options. Once past the food vendors, there are countless tables and even two lounging areas with couches for fans to take a break from the heat. In the center, a bar for those over 21 years of age and plenty of televisions to take in the action at Stadium Court.
This spacious tent replaces the old Player Hospitality location on the far side of Stadium Court. One side of the tent overlooks the practice courts.
There is no hiding that some facilities around the park need a makeover. Fortunately, there is new signage around Stadium Court and other locations to boost the look and style of the Citi Open.
All of the posters feature this year's players field and appeal to the vibrant youth of the players, rather than the history surrounding the event.
Without construction, it gives a new-look feel to those coming into D.C.
The Moët & Chandon Stadium Club
Again, air conditioning is the real winner here. This time the cool air is at the center of the event, the Stadium Court. This hospitality suite is open to ticketed guests with premium food and beverage options not offered elsewhere at Rock Creek Park. Up to 40 guests will also be able to watch the action while in the club.
New, innovative ideas, like an air-conditioned culinary lounge, hope to reinvigorate the D.C. tennis community. A lot of the new ideas are from the visionary new managing owner of the Citi Open, Mark Ein. These additions will add to the loaded field of competitors and personalities at this event, which includes Coco Gauff, Andy Murray, Nick Kyrgios and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Already the new additions have had an impact on the event. Through two days of qualifying action attendance is up 25 percent and tickets were nearly sold out.
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2019 Citi Open includes air-conditioned lounge, amongst other new amenities originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington