Thursday, August 01, 2019

Cooking with Nick and Francis - Fun times at the Citi Open

Earlier this week, Shira and I took in an afternoon and evening of tennis at the Citi Open. Arriving at the grounds we found typical DC tennis weather: broiling hot, with a side order of massive humidity. Within a few minutes we were sitting just a few feet from Jack Sock as he took on Aussie Jordan Thompson. We were close enough to hear Sock mutter to himself when he missed points.

Things got even more surreal a few minutes into the match when Nick Kyrgios, one of the most well known players in the tournament, cozied up to the fence to watch his countryman take on Sock. As Kyrgios looked on, Frances Tiafoe joined him, and again I found myself just a few feet from another well known tennis player.

This experience captured the essence of the Citi Open: on one hand, it's a top notch tournament visited by world class tennis players. On the other, it's a local event where you get a level of access to players and the game that would normally be unheard of. In short, it's everything a tennis fan could ask for.

We left part-way through Sock / Thompson to catch Wimbledon darling Coco Gauff. Alas, it wasn't her night as she lost out to Zarina Diyas. Still, it was a treat to watch the 15 year old play; especially in front of such an encouraging crowd.

This year the tournament introduced a massive indoor space with eateries and more importantly, air conditioning. What's more, one of the restaurants represented was the all veggie Beefsteak. I had a Faux Joe, and it was surprisingly good. I give the tournament organizers quite a bit of credit for setting up the new space.

As the night wore on, we found ourselves on center court watching Jo-Wilfred Tsonga take on Karen Khachanov. With the sun nearly set, the heat and humidity behind us, it was about the most perfect tennis watching experience anyone could ask for. Good times!

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