The Citi Open concluded in Washington, D.C. this weekend, showcasing an exhilarating display of talent and determination on the court. Coco Gauff would emerge victorious on home soil, capturing her first WTA 500 title and marking her second WTA title overall. On the men’s side, Dan Evans clinched his maiden ATP 500 title; the first Briton to secure victory in the tournament since Tim Henman in 2003. At 33 years old, this is Evan’s second ATP title.
Tennis aside for a moment, here’s a word to the wise: that joke about DC being built on a swamp — figuratively or literally — is no longer legit. DC has been on firm footing for more than 200 years, and in the past 20 has become trendy, as has its tennis scene, thanks in no small part to the godfather of tennis Mark Ein. Ein, who bought the tournament formerly known as the Washington Open in 2019, revived the relatively small, very American men’s event on the well-loved courts of Rock Creek Park and turned it into an ATP/WTA 500 complete with a fresh logo, refurbished grounds and an official spot on the U.S. Open warmup series. Nick Kyrgios won the championship twice (2019 and 2022) and Jessica Pegula, who has two WTA titles to her name, can count DC among them. Native Washingtonian Hailey Baptiste, a product of the Washington Tennis and Education Foundation (WTEF), is one to watch on the circuit too.
Does the idea of playing with the likes of Venture Capitalist Mark Ein and Donald Dell in the US capital take your fancy? Here’s an idea! How about playing with one of our members at a top club in the city? Or do you want to rub shoulders with the DC corporates for a working lunch off of M Street? Drop shot your email in below and we’ll set you up.
The Rock Creek Park Tennis CentEr
Washington has no shortage of exclusive clubs for the politically and socially elite, although the last true tennis aficionado at the White House was George H.W. Bush. Bush never officially played at Rock Creek — Camp David was more his style — but he might have if Mark Ein had swooped in to save the decaying centre in the 90s. Now known as the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center — named, like everything else in DC, after a philanthropic political heavyweight — the Rock Creek Tennis Center started life as little more than a clay court and 50 seats on either side. But when Arthur Ashe and his agent Donald Dell decided they wanted to hold more than an exhibition match before the Open, Ashe mandated “no country clubs.” Rock Creek made do with “tents and private outhouses,” according to Dell, until Mark Ein, a native of Chevy Chase, a former ball boy (back when it was the Sovran Bank Classic) and a DC cheerleader, bought the tournament outright in 2019. Since then, Ein has put several fresh coats of paint on the centre and refurbished the 15 hard courts and 10 clay courts. For the tournament, he brought in local food vendors to create a DC lawn party, expanded the draw to introduce fresh talent and helped turn DC from a company town into a more cosmopolitan city.
MUST SEE IN DC
The New York — DC corridor is the place to be for ambitious professionals and thriving start-ups, and since about 2005, DC has (almost, but not quite) caught up with New York. Once the murder capital of the country with a mayor known for smoking crack cocaine, DC has come full circle with bars, fine dining, renovated museums and galleries, and somewhat of a local music scene. Better yet, all the politicians fly home and lobbyists retreat to the suburbs on the weekends.
Of course, check out the National Mall, and its never-ending expanse of monuments, but stop by at the Museum of African-American History and Culture to bear witness to the highs and lows of a former enslaved people — and pay homage to Ashe, Althea Gibson and the Williams sisters in its fantastic display on sport.
Like London, DC’s National Portrait Gallery has been recently renovated and includes the famed portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama — another non-miss. The International Spy Museum would appeal to all the would-be spooks among us, while for those into a quieter profession, the National Bonsai Museum is sure to please. It even has an American twist: one of the several dozen trees on display even survived the bombing of Hiroshima.
It’s no surprise that the city is littered with vendors selling their plastic patriotic wares, but if they aren’t quite to your liking here’s where you can indulge in some retail therapy.
Georgetown: This historic neighbourhood is home to some of the most renowned luxury boutiques and designer stores. M Street and Wisconsin Avenue are the main shopping streets in Georgetown, featuring brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tory Burch, among plenty more. The area has a charming atmosphere with cobblestone streets, so a sure bet for an easy afternoon of window shopping.
CityCenterDC: This modern development in downtown D.C. hosts a collection of high-end retailers, including Hermès, Dior, and Paul Stuart. The sleek architecture and sophisticated design of CityCenterDC only add to the centre’s appeal.
Tysons Galleria: While not in the city itself but nearby in McLean, Virginia, Tysons Galleria is a luxury shopping mall with a wide range of high-end brands, including Versace, Gucci, and Prada. It’s a popular spot for upscale shopping in the D.C. metropolitan area.
Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue: Both of these renowned department stores have locations in the D.C. area, offering a one-stop-shop for a curated selection of luxury fashion, accessories, and beauty.
Eat, drink and BE merry
Not so many years ago, the DC power dinner was a Ruth’s Chris Steak and a bottle of Cabernet. President Bill Clinton started the cultural shift with him and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton sneaking out of the White House for Ethiopian, Mexican or Italian at the renowned Filomena restaurant in Georgetown. While the Citi Open has become a food destination in itself — José Andrés debuted his new burger brand called Iberico Smashed at this year’s tournament — outlying DC has also become a gastronome’s Eden. To feast on Michelin-starred sushi, Chef Nobu Yamazaki’s Sushi Taro features the “Omakase counter,” an interactive tasting course that riffs off its translation: “give me something.” Other not-to-miss restaurants in DC’s foodie scene include Lauriol Plaza for Mexican, Ben’s Chili Bowl, an Obama favourite, and farm-to-table fare at The Pembroke.
With its constant stream of lobbyists, politicos and sightseers, Washington has plenty of places to stay, with less-expensive options on the Virginia side of the Potomac. However, old-school luxury endures at the Hay-Adams, a historic hotel with stunning views of the White House, St. John’s Church (the “Church of the Presidents’) and Lafayette Square, as well as the Willard, which earned its place in the American canon by hosting the last-ditch Peace Convention before the outbreak of the American Civil War. The Washington Hilton — the site of the assassination attempt on former President Ronald Reagan — is within walking distance of both Embassy Row and Rock Creek Park, while The Line hotel in trendy Adams Morgan is not only pet-friendly, but has free bike rental for a quick ride to the Citi Open.
All Court Tennis Club partners with hotels around the world, providing our members with unique benefits such as preferential rates and perks. If you’d like to become a complimentary member of the All Court Tennis Club (and we’d certainly like that!) visit our membership page here.