Updated: April 23, 2012
Citi Open Starts a New Era in Washington, DC Tennis
Citi, the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF) and Lagardere Unlimited today announced that Citi has been named the new title sponsor of the ATP World Tour 500 Tournament called the Citi Open, previously known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. As part of a multi-year commitment, Citi becomes just the seventh title sponsor in the 44-year history of the tournament, replacing Legg Mason, which had been the longest-running ATP title sponsor in North America to date (since 1994).
As an ATP World Tour 500 level event, the Citi Open is recognized by the ATP World Tour as one of the top 20 tournaments worldwide and continually attracts the best men’s tennis players from around the globe. Past champions include some of the biggest names in the history of the sport since the event was founded in 1969 by then-Davis Cup captain Donald Dell and John Harris in partnership with the late Arthur Ashe. Winners include five-time champion Andre Agassi, three-time champions Jimmy Connors, Guillermo Villas and Andy Roddick, two-time champions Ivan Lendl, Michael Chang and Juan Martin Del Potro, along with Arthur Ashe, Stefan Edberg, Yannick Noah, James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman and many more.
“The tournament has a storied history in Washington, D.C.,” said Dermot Boden, Citi Chief Brand Officer. “It’s been a prominent event on the ATP World Tour for years, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to do our part in carrying on the rich tradition, along with taking it to new heights as the Citi Open. This iconic Washington, D.C., event is a great way to mark our involvement in the local community, both on and off the court.”
“Tennis is truly a global sport, and we are fortunate to have one of the world’s most recognized and prestigious brands now entitling our tournament,” said Donald Dell, Group President of Lagardere Unlimited and Tournament Chairman. “We’re grateful to have had a long and prosperous relationship with Legg Mason, and we anticipate an excellent relationship and partnership with Citi for many years to come.”
Alan Magleby, director of investor relations and corporate communications for Legg Mason, said the company was moving in a new direction as a result of evolving business and marketing strategy over the past few years.
“Legg Mason has been proud to serve as title sponsor of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic for the last 18 years,” Magleby said. “During our years as title sponsor, we have been fortunate to have worked with a talented team including Donald Dell and Lagardere Unlimited, as well as the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, who together have worked tirelessly to run an extraordinary tournament that is now considered one of the top 20 men’s tournaments in the world.”
Along with a new title sponsor, the 2012 event will include a WTA International Level tournament, offering $220,000 in prize money. This WTA tournament (which was called the Citi Open and held the week before the then-Legg Mason Tennis Classic at the Tennis Center of College Park, Md., in 2011) will be played simultaneously with the ATP World Tour 500 event July 28 to August 5, 2012 at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park (16th & Kennedy Streets, NW), Washington, D.C. and collectively be named the Citi Open.
Thanks to Citi, the inclusion of the women’s event in 2012 will allow tournament organizers to create an enhanced experience for fans and players who attend, including numerous site upgrades such as a 2,500-seat show court to accommodate both tournaments.