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By Erik Gudris| @ATNTennis | Saturday July 30, 2022

For the first time in over three years, the Citi Open will feature a combined men’s and women’s field with some of the biggest names competing at the summer hard court event.

Tennis Express

Yet it’s Venus Williams and Andy Murray, two unseeded players with major championship credits that are generating the most excitement.

The ATP 500 men’s event is one of the longest running in history of the ATP Tour. So it’s perhaps fitting that 35-year-old Andy Murray is back in D.C. as he continues his comeback in the men’s game. The former No. 1 and U.S. Open champion, currently ranked No. 50 in the world, is hoping that a good week in D.C. puts him on the right track for New York.

While Murray has never won the title in D.C. he has had some memorable matches at the event, including a marathon third round win in 2018 over Marius Copil that ended at 3 a.m. and left Murray in tears afterwards.

Murray is hoping for less dramatics this year but that doesn’t mean he isn’t eager to make an impact in any way he can. Tournament owner Mark Ein announced that the event would match Murray’s prize money donation this week for Ukraine relief. Murray earlier announced this year that he would donate all his remaining prize money this season for Ukraine children relief through UNICEF.

Murray, 19-11 on the season, is set to face Mikael Ymer in the first round.

Top seed Andrey Rublev leads the men’s field that includes Hubert Hurkacz, Taylor Fritz, Denis Shapovalov, Frances Tiafoe, Reilly Opelka, and 2019 winner and recent Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios.

Kyrgios, a fan favorite in D.C. and the 2019 champion, is returning to the event despite facing domestic abuse charges back in Australia. Kyrgios’ court date in Canberra on the matter was pushed back to August 23. The 27-year-old Kyrgios is not required to be in court so long as he has legal representation.

Women’s Event Returns After Three Year Absence

42-year-old Venus Williams is playing for the first time ever at the WTA 250 event. Her appearance will also mark Williams’s first singles appearance at a tournament in 2022 – the seven-time Grand Slam champion has not competed in singles since last summer in Chicago, but she has made an appearance of late. Williams surprised many, and even herself, when she made a last minute decision to compete in Mixed Doubles at Wimbledon earlier this summer.

Williams, a two-time U.S. Open champion, is scheduled to face a qualifier in her opening round match on Monday night.

Top seed Jessica Pegula, the last woman to win the event back in 2019, returns to defend her title. She’ll face off against local favorite and wildcard Hailey Baptiste. The packed women’s field also includes No. 3 seed Simona Halep, No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin, and No. 2 seed Emma Raducanu who is gearing up for a U.S. Open title defense later in New York. Raducanu faces a tough opener against recent Wimbledon quarterfinalist Marie Bouzkova.

That’s six former Grand Slam champions competing in a 32-player main draw.

Fans are glad to see the return of the women’s event in D.C. that has, at times, had to fight to gain equal attention with the coinciding men’s event. In 2020, the pandemic cancelled the entire tournament. In 2021, the management company overseeing the women’s event moved it out of D.C. and last year only a women’s exhibition event was held.

Main draw play starts on Monday.


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