Trading sweatbands for heels and dinner jackets, Citi Open tennis players joined coaches, fans, and top local chefs and mixologists for the second-annual Citi Taste of Tennis DC at Hamilton Live on July 29.
Benefiting Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, the celebration welcomed world-class tennis stars Sloane Stephens and John Isner, among more than 25 others.
The night kicked off with a VIP meet-and-greet featuring fifth-seeded American tennis giant Isner over cocktails and finger food.
After Isner’s opening serve to fans, the rest of the players entered on the “blue carpet,” strutting and preening in front of cameras in slim-fitting suits, sparkling dresses, and shimmering pearls – a far cry from their outfits under the 95-degree Washington, DC sun earlier that day.
To headline the event, American Sloane Stephens took to the stage with celebrated Executive Chef Jerome Grant of Sweet Home Café of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Chef Grant turned up the heat on Stephens with finesse worthy of a Grand Slam dropshot, crafting a sophisticated crab-and-sorghum dish tossed with edamame (though not before Stephens took several selfies with her mom on the blue carpet). While Stephens tried her hand at the wok, she asked chef Grant if he would be able to make this dish at home. Grant responded, “Trust me, I have a lot weirder things in my fridge.”
Beyond Isner and Stephens, top tennis talent featured top-ten player Daniil Medvedev, Puerto Rican rep Monica Puig, Brazilian doubles star Marcelo Melo, up-and-comer Chris Eubanks, and more.
Other local restaurants represented include D.C. newcomers Kith and Kin, Punjab Grill, and Spoken English. Other local favorites like Compass Rose and Taco Bamba also served up created plates, cooking right before fans’ eyes. Dolci Gelato kept things sweet with cups and cones of gelato and sorbetto at the end of the night.
Partygoers got down to energetic beats by DJ Mad Linx and the Rakiem Walker Project. Zonin Prosecco poured glasses of prosecco and sparkling rose; top brands like Oban Whiskey and Diplomático Rum stirred up signature cocktails.
Citi Taste of Tennis, a national event now in its 20th year, gives foodies and tennis fans an evening of cuisine prepared by top local chefs and “served,” as such, by the top pro tennis players. Evening proceeds went to Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, which works to give underserved youth opportunities through tennis and academics.