SBD/August 18, 2017/People and Pop Culture

Weekend Plans With WTA Connecticut Open Tournament Dir Anne Worcester

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Worcester (r) is currently reading James Blake's (l) new book, "Ways Of Grace"
WTA Connecticut Open Tournament Dir ANNE WORCESTER is ready for her most important time of the year, as this weekend marks 20 years of New Haven hosting pro women’s tennis. Worcester, an ’11 SBJ Game Changer and former WTA CEO, is excited to welcome players to the Northeast, many of whom she has had long-standing relationships with throughout her career. Worcester: “I always tell our player services team that the minute a player steps onsite, we are already recruiting her for next year.”

TAKES A VILLAGE: It takes 51 weeks to prepare to put on this nine-day show. While there’s lots of advance planning, so much of it has to come together at the last minute. Our video boards just arrived earlier this week, and the small city that has been built here over the past two months comes to fruition just in these past few days. We’re making sure every detail has been thought out. We have plenty of off-court events going on as well, including a different promotional theme each day. That includes a Kids Day on Sunday. Monday we have an opening ceremony presented by Yale and Wednesday we have Autism Awareness. There’s been a heavy focus this week to make sure those go off seamlessly, and there’s a clear division of responsibility around every aspect of each event. Wild cards into the Connecticut Open are wildly popular and the main draw is very competitive.

PACKED SCHEDULE: I move into the official player hotel on Friday and I’m here for nine days. That day we have the first day of qualifying with gates opening at 9:00am ET. We still have all sorts of staff rolling in that day so a lot of it is greeting them and the players as they start to arrive as well. We have our official draw ceremony Friday at noon at our brand new Porsche Social Zone. All of our weeklong booths will also be moving in as the qualifying matches go all day long. At 4:00pm I’ll sit down with WTA Supervisor DONNA KELSO to go over Saturday’s schedule. Friday we’re also kicking off an Australia-U.S. Open playoff event. It’s eight players from Australia vying for a U.S. Open wildcard. I’ll also spend quite a bit of time doing print, radio and TV interviews as well as trouble shooting whatever is happening on site. 

ALL ABOUT THE PLAYERS: Saturday is a lot of player relations, finalizing double wildcards and welcoming more players from around the world. We do a site walk-through and make sure everything is in good order. Saturday is a great day to double back with staff for any last minute planning. Then because we don’t have evening matches Friday and Saturday, I’ll get to take some players out to dinner and bond with some folks we don’t get to see very often. Then Monday the opening ceremony will take on new meaning because of the 20-year anniversary of women’s tennis here in New Haven.

IN THE MEANTIME: I love to read, do yoga and spend downtime with my family and friends. I just started reading JAMES BLAKE’s “WAYS OF GRACE,” about his social activism following his false arrest in N.Y. two years ago.
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