News & Politics

As Venus Williams Preps for Citi Open, Serena Hits DC

El Pollo Rico, the Lincoln Memorial, and FedEx Field were all graced by the tennis icon.

Venus Williams in 2014. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Marianne Bevis.

If you braved the throngs of tourists around the Lincoln Memorial and Georgetown Waterfront this past weekend, you may have been lucky enough to spot 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

Serena, along with her sister Venus—seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and four-time Olympic gold medalist—are in town for DC’s annual Citi Open Tennis Tournament, held at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center.

While Serena, 40, won’t be competing—making her appearance in DC all the more surprising—Venus, 42, has taken a wild card, marking her debut at the Citi Open as well as her return to singles competition after nearly a year’s hiatus. She will play tonight at 7 p.m. before a sold-out crowd.

But first, she played with her sister.

Yesterday, the two served up a treat to Washingtonians when they held an unexpected practice session at the Citi Open.

Meanwhile, as Venus no doubt continues to prep for tonight’s match (and rightfully relaxes at the Four Seasons Hotel, according to an Instagram post), her little sister Serena has been taking advantage of what Washington has to offer.

On Saturday, the tennis icon started her weekend at FedEx Field, attending a concert featuring pop sensation the Weeknd. According to sportskeeda, she shared a story of herself singing along to the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights.”

Continuing to document her DC outings on Instagram, Serena also grabbed lunch at the Peruvian chicken spot El Pollo Rico, rode a Lime e-scooter past the Swedish embassy in Georgetown, and hit up all the major monuments on the Mall.

Screenshot from Serena Williams’ Instagram story on Sunday.
Screenshot from Serena Williams’ Instagram story on Sunday.
Screenshot from Serena Williams’ Instagram story on Sunday.

But while Serena might be playing tourist, she and her sister aren’t exactly strangers to DC.

Aside from playing for the Washington Kastles—with Venus on the team for nine seasons—both practiced on local DC tennis courts with their father, Richard Williams, as children, according to the Washington City Paper, and later developed ties to the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, which opened in Ward 8 in 2001.

The center’s Williams Arena is named after the sisters, who’ve supported the center over the years and were there for its ribbon cutting in 2014. Their mother, Oracene Price, is also reportedly close friends with the center’s founder Cora Masters Barry, according to WCP.

“I love Washington, DC, and returning to the nation’s capital to play in front of a community that has supported me so strongly feels like a homecoming,” said Williams in a tournament press release.


Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor