New Haven Open Travels To Newtown

The New Haven Open and Melanie Oudin headed to Newtown to not only spread fun, fitness and friendship, but also to show support for Newtown, from one Connecticut community to another.

Published July 11, 2013 12:01

New Haven Open Travels To Newtown
Melanie Oudin

NEWTOWN, CT, USA - The New Haven Open headed to Newtown, Connecticut on Wednesday to not only help spread fun, fitness and friendship to about 150 local children with a New Haven Open Free Tennis Lesson, but also to show support for Newtown, from one Connecticut community to another.

Roughly 150 kids from Newtown Parks Day Camp took to the courts, playing tennis and exercising with WTA star Melanie Oudin and ESPN anchor Prim Siripipat. For many of the kids, who ranged from four to 11 years old, this was their first exposure to tennis, but hopefully not the last, as it was also meant to encourage participation in local tennis lessons through the Newtown Parks & Rec department.

"For 16 years, it's always been the strategy of the New Haven Open to leverage this large-scale international event to benefit the community in a healthy, active and positive way," Anne Worcester, New Haven Open Tournament Director and former WTA CEO, said. "After the events of December in Newtown, it was crystal clear that if they'd have us and it was appropriate, that we would want to bring the joy and benefits of tennis to Newtown. And so we're here - they welcomed us with open arms."

"I think it's super important to do things like this," Oudin said. "People see us playing on TV and at pro tournaments, and they don't get to know us or see what makes the tournaments possible. This Free Tennis Lesson is great. I think we have introduced a lot of kids to tennis and hopefully they're going to want to play more and more. One day, one of these kids could be playing in a pro tournament, too."

These free lessons have been integral in bringing tennis into the community, which is something Tournament Director Worcester keeps at the top of the New Haven Open's list of priorities year in and year out. The tournament's community outreach programs have fed thousands of kids into affordable tennis programs which are fun and teach the importance of maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Back in New Haven, there was another special announcement brewing - the tournament announced its player field for this year's edition, and it was a very, very impressive announcement, including five Top 10 players: Sara Errani, Marion Bartoli, Petra Kvitova, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki. And you can make that six of the Top 11, as World No.11 Roberta Vinci is coming to New Haven too.

Also among the field will be Sabine Lisicki, who - like Bartoli - played for the Wimbledon title this past weekend, with Bartoli beating Lisicki in straight sets for a much-deserved first Grand Slam title.

"It's Wimbledon in New Haven!," Worcester declared. "Not only do we have Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki, but we also have 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and English sensation Laura Robson. All told, we have five of the Top 10 players in the world. This year's New Haven Open player field is one of the strongest we've ever had."

For more information on the tournament and to get your tickets, visit www.newhavenopen.com.

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