WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Just days away, the lineup for the ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington, D.C., keeps getting more interesting, thanks to the addition of three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and his older brother Jamie to the men’s doubles draw. Add to that, Mark Ein, the tournament’s new owner, has convinced mercurial Nick Kyrgios and free-spirited Stefanos Tsitsipas that opposites attract – and they will pair together for the first time in an ATP Tour event and be featured in next Monday’s night session on the Stadium court at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.
The Citi Open (which runs from July 29-August 4) represents the 32-year-old Murray’s fourth event since his hip resurfacing operation in January and it will be his first on a hard court. He began his comeback from a career-threatening hip injury earlier this summer on grass in Great Britain and won his first event at Queen’s Club in London, partnered with Feliciano Lopez. A week later, he lost in the first round at Eastbourne, England, with Marcelo Melo, then reached the second round of Wimbledon with Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Murray also advanced to the third round of the Wimbledon mixed doubles with Serena Williams.
Murray, whose emotional withdrawal from the Citi Open last year after winning a third-round singles match that ended at 3 a.m., recently contacted Ein to express his interest in coming back to Washington to play doubles alongside his brother, Jamie, for the first time since 2016. The older Murray, 33, who is ranked No. 8 in doubles and is a six-time Grand Slam champion, paired with Bruno Soares of Brazil to win last year’s Citi Open men’s doubles title. This year, Soares will team with Mate Pavic of Croatia.
Meanwhile, the younger Murray, a former World No. 1, has yet to play any competitive singles matches during his comeback.
Ein told The New York Times on Tuesday, “We’re putting a real focus on doubles at the event – it’s a terrific piece of the competition and entertainment value for fans – so we were thrilled he wanted to return.”
— ATP Tour (@ATP_Tour) July 24, 2019
Murray tweeted a video on Wednesday morning to inform his fans of his decision to play doubles with his brother in Washington. He said: “Obviously, very excited to be on the court with him. Also, to go back to Washington, a city I’ve always enjoyed visiting. So, it should be fun. I’m hoping to have a good summer over in the States – keep progressing physically – and hopefully get back on the singles court soon. I’ll see you all in Washington. Cheers.”
The Citi Open is expected to attract the Top 10 doubles players to its draw. The pairing of Kyrgios and Tsitsipas, one very vocal and the other creative, was the brainchild of Ein, who was quoted by The New York Times as saying, “Since we took over, thinking about highlighting doubles and creating compelling teams to come together has been a focus of ours.”
The men’s doubles field will include several other star-studded teams, including: current World No. 1s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, both from Columbia, who earlier this month won their first Grand Slam doubles title at Wimbledon; Bob and Mike Bryan, arguably the greatest doubles team of all-time, who have won the Citi Open four times as a team; former World No. 1 Leander Paes of India, who will team with two-time Olympic medalist Jack Sock; Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin; and 2019 French Open champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, both of Germany.
Ein has also suggested that he would like to add mixed doubles to next year’s Citi Open, which also includes a WTA International singles and doubles event. Currently, mixed doubles are not played at any of the combined ATP-WTA tournaments.