NEW HAVEN OPEN UNVEILS REFURBISHED TENNIS COURTS AT MCCLAIN PARK
Former World No. 9 Andrea Petkovic Leads Inaugural Tennis Clinic
NEW HAVEN, Conn., August 16, 2012 – The 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series to be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, today unveiled refurbished tennis courts at McClain Park in New Haven.
The refurbished courts are part of the Fresh Courts program, which was introduced in 2010 by American Express and the United States Tennis Association and designed to support local tennis in communities across the U.S.
Local dignitaries including Connecticut State Senators Martin Looney and Toni Harp and New Haven Aldermen Jorge Perez and Andrea Jackson-Brooks were on hand to unveil the courts as was former top-10 ranked WTA star Andrea Petkovic, who hosted a free clinic for local youth from the New Haven Boys’ and Girls’ Club. McClain Park was chosen for the renovations due in part to its close proximity to seven schools in and around the Hill Section of New Haven.
Truman School, which is across the street from McClain Park, has already partnered with the New Haven Open and Yale Athletics to create an after-school program called TEaM (Tennis, Education and Mentoring). The newly refurbished and age-appropriate courts at McClain will give these local youth a chance to practice tennis in between sessions at Yale’s Cullman-Heyman indoor courts.
“Today’s announcement is about more than tennis courts,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano. “It is about providing safe and healthy opportunities and access to positive role models for our youth. Thank you to the New Haven Open for your longstanding commitment to New Haven both on and off the courts, and thank you to American Express for supporting this important effort.”
“We applaud American Express for investing in the refurbishing of McClain Park as part of its national Fresh Courts program to support tennis in local communities.” said Anne Worcester, New Haven Open Tournament Director. “Having Andrea Petkovic host a clinic for neighborhood youth is a great way to illustrate how these newly refurbished courts will transform the Hill Section and make possible all kinds of future tennis programs.”
Petkovic will be participating in next week’s New Haven Open, making a comeback to the courts after injuries derailed much of her 2012 season. In 2011, Petkovic was the only player to reach the quarterfinals of three of the four Grand Slams, achieving a career-high ranking of No. 9 in the world in October. She has not played a professional match since April due to her injuries, but will be on-court in New Haven to reclaim her spot in the top of the WTA.
Log on to www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366 for more information and to purchase tickets. Also, make sure to join New Haven Open on Facebook & Twitter for tournament updates, contests and more.
About New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara
New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara has always been much more than a tennis tournament; it is a leading example of leveraging a large-scale international sporting event to generate $26 million in regional economic impact and to build community pride, spirit and engagement, especially among youth. The 2011 tournament featured World No. 1 and now four-time defending champion Caroline Wozniacki, and three Grand Slam champions Li Na, Francesca Schiavone and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The women’s-only WTA event is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will be held August 17-25, 2012 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The New Haven Open is prominently featured domestically on ESPN2 and also broadcast around the world. For more information about the tournament and tickets, visit www.newhavenopen.com or call 1-855-464-8366.
About First Niagara
First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with nearly 430 branches, approximately $35 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 6,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.
About Emirates Airline US Open Series
Now in its ninth season, the Emirates Airline US Open Series continues to serve as a true regular season of hard court tennis, linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. Fans follow the action throughout the summer during national broadcast coverage while players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. The Series collectively reached a U.S. television audience of 39 million and drew more than 800,000 on-site fans in 2011. In 2012, Emirates Airline became the title sponsor of the Series, as well as the official airline of the US Open. The Emirates Airline US Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, Chase, Citizen Watch Company, Esurance, evian and Gatorade.
Americans Mardy Fish and Serena Williams swept the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles. In 2007, Roger Federer collected the biggest paycheck in tennis history – $2.4 million – for winning the US Open and the Emirates Airline US Open Series. In 2005, Kim Clijsters also captured both the US Open and the Series, winning $2.2 million – the largest purse in women’s sports history – and equaled that amount in 2010, winning the US Open and finishing the Emirates Airline US Open Series in second place.