It is the 20th year of women’s tennis in New Haven and the singles draw for the 2017 Connecticut Open is set.
Rain delayed some of Friday’s qualifying matches and the draw ceremony also had to be moved indoors to the renovated media center.
“For us, we are using tennis education and mentoring to give them a better path way to higher education and excellence,” said Mavi Sanchez-Skakle, executive director of New HYTES (New Haven Youth Tennis and Education.
Students from the youth tennis program helped pick the opening round matches with three-time Connecticut Open champion Petra Kvitova.
“It means a lot, I mean I always love to come back to here to Connecticut Open,” Kvitova told NBC Connecticut. “I feel like it’s my kind of second home if I can say.”
In December, Kvitova suffered serious cuts to her left hand during a home invasion attack. Some worried she would never pick up her racket again.
“After she made this miraculous comeback at the French Open, the first WTA tournament for her to commit to, coming out of all of that was the Connecticut Open,” tournament director Anne Worcester told reporters.
Kvitova, who is a two-time Wimbledon champion, is among the top names in a competitive tournament field.
“I heard the field its very strong and I’m really surprised how many players are playing in the qualification so it’s a huge draw,” Kvitova said. “Aand I’m just happy for Anne, I mean she’s working for the tournament for 20 years already and I feel like the tournament is getting better and better every year.”
With family fun, food trucks and luxury car displays from new sponsor Porsche at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale for the next week, Worcester said she’s hopeful the weather will cooperate.
“Once we get beyond today, and a little bit tomorrow, starting Sunday the forecast is, knock on wood, fantastic,” she said.
Monday’s tournament action will coincide with the solar eclipse.
“We tried to find special glasses for our fans,” Worcester said, “and would you believe they are completely sold out everywhere in the universe.”
Fans will be advised to not look directly at the sun, Worcester added.
“We think we will be able to play through,” she said, “but we may have to turn on the lights.”