an annual tennis tournament held in Washington, D.C. — has a rich history tied closely to tennis legend Arthur Ashe.
The year was 1968; Ashe was driving through D.C. with his close friend and agent Donald Dell, who had a vision of organizing a tennis tournament in the District.
Dell asked Ashe if he would participate if a tournament was created. According to Citi Open tennis director Jeff Newman, Ashe responded with something along the lines of “If you pick a place that is naturally integrated, I’ll play in the tournament, and I’ll support it.”
Less than a year after Ashe won the 1968 U.S. Open and became the first African-American tennis player to win a Grand Slam tournament, Dell, along with friends Steve Potts and John Harris, welcomed Ashe’s request. They began hosting the tournament in an integrated neighborhood at the corner of 16th and Kennedy Streets adjacent to Rock Creek Park — the location where the tournament is still played nearly a half century later.
During the tournament’s early stages, Ashe displayed his tennis prowess yea