We may be one year away from the 50th anniversary of the Citi Open, but tennis fans in Washington D.C. are already celebrating thanks to one of the best player fields in tournament history. The draws boast five former champions, five top-10 players, 10 top-20 players and plenty of fan favorites. During Monday’s media day, players spoke about the strength of the competition and the atmosphere in the nation’s capital.
(1) Dominic Thiem
On the competition… It’s a really strong field. One of the best I’ve seen in a 500 tournament. It’s probably not going to be much stronger next week in an [ATP World Tour] 1000.
On whether or not he likes playing in a strong field… For us players, it’s not that great because we have tough matches ahead, but for the crowd it’s amazing. They are lucky they have such a strong field. But for the players it’s not that nice. They are all really tough matches (laughs).
(2) Kei Nishikori
On the strength of the field… The field is very strong this year. Many top 10, top 15 players playing. There will be tough rounds, but I try to focus on what I have to do and try to play my best tennis each match. Milos, Thiem, Sascha. It’s going to be a great tournament.
(13) Juan Martin del Potro
On what makes him play so well in Washington D.C.… I don’t know, but I like to play here (smiling). It feels like home. I always play good tennis in the US. This will be very special to me because I have my Argentinian fans who come to watch me here and also the American people watch my game, too.
On the strength of the field… The quality is great. I think this will be almost like an [ATP World Tour] 1000 tournament. There are many players in the top 20, and I think it will be a very interesting tournament to watch and to play.
(1) Simona Halep
On her D.C. debut… I feel good here. It’s a little bit too hot today, but I’ve heard it can be worse so it’s fine (smiling). I like the courts, I like the club. Really nice people and so many fans. I chose this tournament because I asked for a wild card into Stanford and Washington. Stanford said no, and Washington said yes. So, I’d like to thank the Tournament Director!
On her confidence level after Wimbledon… I’m still confident, but now I’m starting a different season. It’s hard court season and I’m ready. I’m feeling great and looking forward to playing matches.
On playing at the Citi Open… I feel like the tournament is really strong. It feels very intimate and homey and also the fan interaction – you’re so close to the fans all the time, and I think that’s something that people appreciate a lot. That’s really great.