Other Sports

A teenager has taken the Citi Open by storm and she’s not Coco Gauff

NBC Sports Washington/ Tyler Byrum

A teenager has taken the Citi Open by storm and she’s not Coco Gauff

WASHINGTON - If someone a week ago had said a teenager would be in the women’s semifinals of the Citi Open, many would assume that it would be Coco Gauff. Turns out it is Gauff’s doubles partner and close friend, Catherine McNally that is making the run in Washington D.C.  

After an hour and 22 minute 6-4, 6-3 win over world No. 31 Su-Wei Hsieh and the fourth seed in the tournament, the young American is in the semifinals. 

McNally, 17, is two years older than Gauff and the last remaining teenager in the Citi Open draw. As a partner with one of the tour’s immediate darlings in D.C., fans quickly jumped on the bandwagon. All the attention Gauff received in the first round and qualifying rounds has transitioned to her.

In D.C., McNally is going through a similar run that her close friend did last month in London. The Cincinnati, Oh. native has made her maiden WTA semifinal in only her fourth WTA-level event. Before this season she had yet to appear in a WTA tournament and has needed Wild Cards and qualifying tournaments to even make the mid-tier events. Based on how she has performed at Rock Creek Park that might not be an issue anymore. 

"[Gauff's run] just kind of put a fire in my belly that showed me I can do the same thing," McNally said post-match.

While not quite the same as Gauff’s Round of 16 run at Wimbledon, McNally's surprising success is still impressive. She had yet to earn her first singles main draw victory before this event.

"I watched all of [Gauff's] matches [at Wimbledon]," McNally said on Thursday. "It shows me because I've played really close with her and I've had chances to win that I'm right there too."

All three of her wins have been against played ranked higher than her in the world rankings. On her way to this point, the right-handed power player made relatively quick work of her opposition. In addition to Hsieh, she knocked out Zhu Lin (world No. 125) in straight sets for a first-round victory. Then she ousted fellow countrywoman Christiana McHale (No. 105) in a three-setter that just went over two hours. 

Total, she has spent five hours and 10 minutes on the singles court. She and Gauff are still alive in the Citi Open doubles draw. Her success has all happened so quickly that McNally has not had time to adjust.

"The past few nights I got to bed at like 1:00 a.m. because of doubles," McNally said earlier this week. "It just is a reality of what the tour is like. It's not going to be easy, but whoever can handle all of these situations and take all the positives and bring the right energy, I think that's who's going to succeed."

Not a bad showing for a Wild Card player that has steadily progressed each tournament she’s played. As a result, her current No. 150 ranking has risen to a projected No. 124. That could go even higher based on her results in the semifinals against either Camila Giorgi or Zarina Diyas.


12.9.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google


12.9.19 Rick Horrow sits down with Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google

Edited by Tanner Simkins

In the latest edition of Rick Horrow's Sports Business Podcast, Rick sits down with  Julie Edelman, Global Client Partner of Google.


1. It's hard to believe, but we have reached the end of yet another decade. And in the business of sport, it’s been a busy one. Here are Rick Horrow’s top 15 sport business/law trends and issues of the decade just ending. Stay tuned throughout December for his top 15 sports technology and media picks, as well as his most influential philanthropic/corporate social responsibility actions in sports, and an early look at the year and decade ahead.

2. State by state, legal sports wagering outside of Nevada sportsbooks takes hold, with massive business implications. On May 14, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on sports betting. Since the ruling, 19 states have legalized the practice, with Colorado, Illinois, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Tennessee passing legislation this year. Additionally, 24 states have pending legislation. Legal sports wagering has already had a profound effect on virtually all American professional sports, casting a wider fan base net, spurring innovation in sports media and e-commerce, and birthing an entire cottage industry of related new companies. Sports teams are embracing fans who wager – Monumental Sports & Entertainment, owners of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, is only the latest ownership group to install a sportsbook in their venue. And tens of millions of tax dollars on net sports betting proceeds are adding income streams to state and community coffers. 


3. College football adds a real playoff. After years of avoiding adding yet another game to the college football season via the auspice of the Bowl Championship Series – a selection system that created five existing bowl matchups involving ten of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision’s top-ranked teams – the NCAA in the 2014-2015 season finally embraced the College Football Playoff (CFP), a bracket tournament between the top four teams in the country as determined by a selection committee, culminating in a championship game at a neutral site. While the payout for the semifinal teams is a modest $6 million, the playoff format delivers tens of millions in additional revenue to the schools, conferences, and contract and access bowl host cities – a handful of which, including New Orleans this year, get to double down on hosting duties and economic impact.


4. After 20 long years, Los Angeles gets an NFL team back in 2016. In fact, it gets two. Largely thanks to billionaire and St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Los Angeles has now positioned itself to be the center of the sports universe for the next decade and likely longer. The two-decade span in which Los Angeles lacked an NFL team was brought on in part by the obsolescence of Los Angeles’s existing stadiums, the unwillingness of the NFL to add expansion teams after 2002 (when the Houston Texans premiered) or relocate any other teams, and an inability to agree on a plan to build a new stadium, despite several proposals that were vetted but never landed a team willing to relocate under the developers’ terms. Kroenke’s privately-funded SoFi Stadium opens next July with a Taylor Swift concert and will house both the Rams and the Chargers. Additionally, the $4.963 billion venue will host Super Bowl LVI in 2022, the CFP National Championship Game in 2023, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. L.A. is now synonymous with mega sports events.


5. Rob Manfred became the 10th Major League Baseball Commissioner during a period of labor peace and unrest in almost everything else. At the beginning of the decade, baseball was still healing from its steroid era, a span in the 1990s-2000s where home runs were plenty and performance-enhancing drug testing scarce. Former Commissioner Bud Selig was largely credited with cleaning up the sport, and in 2015 Manfred inherited a league that was in decent baseball shape but desperately trying to stay relevant to the next generation of fans. Slow play was an issue…but a pitch clock somehow made games even slower. PED bats were gone, but the balls appeared to be corked. And Manfred’s decade ends with a nasty sign-stealing scandal involving the World Series champion Houston Astros. One bright spot in baseball continues to be its vast minor league system, which ensures pro baseball is played throughout America’s smaller communities – MiLB saw attendance in 2019 surpassed 44 million fans annually. As baseball’s Winter Meetings convene next week in San Diego, MiLB President Pat O’Connor and industry experts present a solution to improved facilities that rests in three key areas: time, money, and space.

Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

USA TODAY Sports Images

Teenager Coco Gauff to return to the Citi Open in 2020

Teenage tennis sensation Coco Gauff will return to Washington D.C.'s Citi Open in 2020. 

Gauff, who will be 16 at the time of her second appearance in D.C., broke onto the WTA Tour with a historic run at last year's Wimbledon Championships. She upset seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams en route to a Round of 16 finish in her major main draw debut. 

Last year, Gauff made the trip to the nation's capital a month after her phenomenal run. However, due to her low ranking and her primary source of ranking points coming from Wimbledon, she had to play in the qualifying tournament just to make the main draw of the Citi Open. She would end up losing in the First Round of the singles draw but win her first WTA title with fellow American teenager Caty McNally in doubles

That will not be the case for the Florida native this upcoming year. Gauff won her first WTA singles crown at the Linz Open in Austria and became the youngest player ranked in the top 100 at 15 years of age. She wrapped up her 2019 campaign ranked No. 68 in the world. 

Coco Mania in D.C. helped contribute to one of the best Citi Opens ever. The tournament set several new attendance records in 2019 and sold out seven of the 11 sessions. An empty seat could not be found in any of Gauff's qualifying or main draw matches.

“Seeing the energy and excitement that Coco brought to our Citi Open fans and community last summer was one of the highlights of the tournament, so we are thrilled to welcome her back in 2020,” the manager of the Citi Open Mark Ein said in a release.

Gauff will be defending her doubles title, in addition to playing singles, and hopes to do so with McNally again. 

The 2020 Citi Open will be Aug. 1-9, where they will also be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the women's draw at the event.