One of the greatest tennis players in the world is coming to D.C. this month.
Rafael Nadal, 20-time Grand Slam champion, will make his Washington debut at the 2021 Citi Open, which will be held July 31-Aug. 8 at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
The hard-court tournament serves as a tune-up to the U.S. Open next month in New York.
Citi Open Chairman Mark Ein officially announced Nadal’s entry Thursday.
“We are thrilled to welcome Rafael Nadal, who is not just one of the greatest tennis players of all time, but also a global sporting icon and inspiring role model to our Washington community this summer,” Ein said. “I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the joyous return of the things we cherish like live sports, coming together as a community and our historic event than having Rafa and the rest of our very deep and exciting player field competing for the Citi Open title.”
Nadal has sat out Wimbledon these past two weeks and will miss the Tokyo Olympics. He said he wanted more time to rest and recover from the clay-court season.
“I am very excited to come to Washington for the first time,” Nadal said. “I have never been there and it’s one more place I wanted to come and play. I am looking forward to playing again and Washington shall be the best start for the US Summer Swing for me. Looking forward to seeing again my US fans that I haven’t seen since I won the 2019 US Open in NYC!. Vamos!”
Nadal is ranked No. 3 in the world. He has won 13 French Open titles. His 81 straight victories on clay are the longest single-surface win streak in the Open era. He has held the No. 1 ranking for 209 weeks. His 20 Grand Slam titles are tied with Roger Federer for the record, and Novak Djokovic is in line to tie the mark this weekend at Wimbledon. Nadal is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
This will mark the first time that one of the “Big Three” of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic will participate in the Citi Open.
In addition to Nadal, the Citi Open field includes Wimbledon semifinalists Hubart Hurkacz and Denis Shapovalov, quarterfinalists Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov. Former Citi Open champions Nick Kyrgios, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori are also in the field, in addition to Hyattsville’s Frances Tiafoe. Coco Gauff, who will lead the U.S. team at the Olympics, headlines the women’s field, which includes 2019 Citi Open champion Jessica Pegula and 2021 Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady. The women’s draw won’t be an official tournament after losing its WTA sanction. It was replaced on the WTA schedule by a tournament in Poland.
The 2020 Citi Open was canceled due to the pandemic. Rock Creek Park Tennis Center will allow spectators at 50% capacity.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.