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  • WTA Connecticut Open Organizers Optimistic About Future With Rejuvenated Event

    Winston-Salem Open operators nearly took control of the Connecticut Open

    The WTA Connecticut Open is set for next week, but just 11 months ago, it was "unclear if there would be any activity at New Haven's tennis center" in '14, according to Paul Doyle of the HARTFORD COURANT. After the '13 tournament ended, it "was in deep trouble." The USTA was "poised to sell the tournament to the operators" of the ATP Winston-Salem Open, held the same week. But that move "stalled because of scheduling issues." Connecticut's Capital Region Development Authority then "stepped in and purchased the event for $618,000 in October." The state-owned tourney was "renamed and those who run the event felt a second wind." United Technologies was added as a presenting sponsor in June and the tournament "has added other sponsors." Tournament Dir Anne Worcester said, "I think to make a comeback from sort of extinction to not just be stable, but to [be] viable … It's all overwhelming." Doyle notes in an effort to "inject some energy into the tournament," organizers are "boosting the culinary options by contracting R Entertainment." Fans also will have the "ability to order food remotely and pick up their food in a special line by using the GoPago service on their smartphone." Also new is the Baseline Tap House, a beer garden that will "include Connecticut craft beers." Meanwhile, there are "various events surrounding the tournament," including a Military Appreciation Night. There will be two "spin bikes on site and WTA players ... will ride throughout the week." Sponsors are "pledging donation to the Smilow Cancer Hospital for every mile ridden by players" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/15).

    PERMANENT FIXTURE? Winston-Salem Open Tournament Dir Bill Oakes said he hopes to have a permanent stadium for the event "in the near future," noting the holdup "comes down to fundraising." Oakes: "I think it's unlikely we would have one next year because it would take more than a year to put all the planning together." He added, "We're shooting for 2016, but that's two years off. A lot of things could happen both positively and negatively within that time" (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 8/15). 

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