Washington Kastles World Team Tennis matches will be on the roof of Union Market in D.C.

Washington Kastles World Team Tennis matches will be on the roof of Union Market in D.C.

As Mark Ein studied a tennis court built on a roof, he considered a movie about creating a sports event that people would like to see.

"It feels like" Field of Dreams, "one of the court said at the top of Union Market in Northeast Washington overlooking the US Capitol and Washington Monument.

One owns Washington Kastles and a majority interest in World TeamTennis, a mixed sex professional tennis league that enters its 45th season and 12 in Washington. From Monday to July 27, his Kastles franchise plays in what Ein called an unprecedented place: A court designed for professional tennis and built on a building. (In 2005, an exhibition was matched between Roger Federer and Andre Agassi played on a temporary court built on a helicopter at a luxury hotel in Dubai.)

The pop-up stadium in Northeast Washington has a capacity of 700 people, which is significantly lower than the team's previous venues, which ranged from 2,200 to 3,500 for Kastles matches. It will include VIP dinner tables with food from restaurants in Union Market and the surrounding area, according to Ein who said the home directory is out of stock.

The idea belongs to Jodie McLean, director of Edens, the real estate development company that owns Union Market. One said when she mentioned the idea, he was skeptical. He had looked at various locations across the district to move Kastles after five seasons indoors at Charles E. Smith Center at George Washington University campus. A rooftop court was not on its list. But when he heard more about its feasibility, he thought it would work as an exciting place.

"I thought maybe we were out of ideas," Ein said on Thursday. "So we decided to put it on the Union Markets roof. To see it really come to life … it's spectacular and hard to believe it came together."

Kastles, one of eight franchises in WTT, is seeking their first league title since 2015, when they won the last five consecutively. This year's roster will include the Washington area native Frances Tiafoe, Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams, scheduled to play July 25th.


Frances Tiafoe, left and Venus Williams were mixed double partners at Wimbledon. Both will play on Union Market later this month. (Tim Ireland / Associated Press)

"Every time I look at the D.C. stands, I know every single person," said Tiafoe, 21, Kastles & # 39; highest ranked player at No. 38 in the world. "I am very excited to play for Kastles. It was always my dream as a child."

Should all go well this month, Ein wants to call Union Market Kastles home beyond 2019 as part of a permanent, year-round roof development.

As he looked over the rooftop chair, Ein wondered why he was there in the first place. He fell in love with tennis as a child who served as a ballboy at D.C.'s Citi Open, the professional tour event at he took over the management earlier this year.

With both Citi Open and Kastles he wants to keep tennis at high level in D.C., which makes the sport more accessible in urban environments.

"I want to bring tennis to the people, not people to the tennis," said Ein, who plays tennis on weekends. "A lot of tennis is in remote places. Let's take tennis to the city."

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