Tournament Director Reveals How Rafael Nadal Approached Him to Play Washington Open 2021

Published 07/09/2021, 8:43 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


Mark Ein, investor and tournament director of the Citi Open in Washington DC, has opened up on the back-channel negotiations that led to Rafael Nadal confirming his participation at the event.

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The 13-time French Open champion, who skipped this year’s Wimbledon Championships after a grueling clay season, will return at the hard court event ahead of the US Open.

Mark Ein says he was speechless when he learned Rafael Nadal will play Citi Open

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Speaking to Emmy-winning sports anchor Scott Abraham, Ein, who also owns a sports team, said he was “speechless” when the confirmation came through from Nadal’s agents that he would play the event at Washington.

“I was speechless. To be honest, when people say it or I say it, sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s true,” the entrepreneur said.

Coming into Roland-Garros in quest of his 13th career title, Nadal crashed out in the semifinals after losing to the eventual champion and current World No.1 Novak Djokovic.

Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon, Tokyo Olympics after loss in French Open SF

Speaking to reporters after the loss, Nadal hinted that he may not play Wimbledon. Through a series of tweets later, the Spaniard announced that he had withdrawn from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics after consulting his team. He cited his age and the need for more rest and recuperation between tournaments to keep himself fresh and motivated in the sport for a longer time.

On how he came to be associated with the tournament, Ein said, “I was a ball kid in this tournament and I, kind of, got involved a couple of years ago to save it for our city with the idea that having an event like this is an amazing thing for our community to come together. It had touched me so deeply as a kid.”

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 7, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his fourth round match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Ein added that with Nadal now set to grace this tournament, it will be an opportunity for the youth to watch him in action and seek inspiration from his sheer dedication and commitment to his profession.

Watch This Link: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Others in Controversial Wimbledon Outfits

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“Having someone like Rafa come and inspire the youth of our community, have something for our community after a really hard year-and-a-half, come together and be able to enjoy together is honestly indescribable,” the tournament director said.

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The event will present Nadal with an opportunity to get into his hardcourt swing as he bids to win a Grand Slam this year at the Flushing Meadows.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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