8 things (besides watching tennis) to do during the tournament

In addition to cheering on your favorite women’s tennis players, there are many activities for you to enjoy during the New Haven Open at Yale sponsored by First Niagara, to be held Aug. 17-25 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale on Derby Avenue.

These include:

1. Stretch your muscles.

Whether you’re young or old, you can enjoy some playtime at the Aetna Fitzone. Test your skills in the Fast-Serve Cage and participate in interactive games, tennis clinics, and the Aetna Daily Fitness Clinic. You might also win a prize.

2. Support breast cancer research.

You can raise funds and awareness about the fight against breast cancer by walking or running on a pink treadmill as part of the Cybex Pink Ribbon Run sponsored by Healthtrax. For every mile logged, a donation will be made to Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center at Yale-New Haven. (Individual donations may also be emailed to pinkribbonrun@newhavenopen.com.) Players and celebrities will also log miles and autograph the pink treadmill, which will be auctioned at charitybuzz.com.

3. Savor the flavors of New Haven.

There are several ways you can do this:

• Visit the tennis center’s food court, where you can find treats by The Grill, One Fish Two Fish, Caseus Cheese, and Ben & Jerry’s, among others.

• Sample dishes from local eateries at the New Haven Food and Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting on Aug. 22, or experience a mix of culinary creativity and couture at the Vineyard Ladies Day Luncheon & Fashion Show hosted by Island Time on Aug. 23. Tickets for both events are selling fast.

• Dine alongside the pros by visiting the restaurants participating in the Mayor’s Passport to Downtown Dining.

4. Travel “green.”

You can leave the car behind by using the free shuttle to and from downtown New Haven. The shuttle will make stops every hour during the week and every 30 minutes on Friday and Saturday from the following locations: Union Station, the Omni Hotel at Yale, The Study at Yale and the tennis center. See the full shuttle schedule.

5. Score a player’s autograph.

Meet your favorite tennis stars and analyze their penmanship at the Player Autograph Sessions. Check for daily updates in the drawsheet or at Guest Services for the schedule of upcoming player autograph sessions.

6. Listen up.

Visit the entertainment stage to hear interviews with the players and special guests, and enjoy live music nightly.

7. Donate your old tennis racquet.

Support the Emirates Airline Racquet Return Program — and perhaps win a prize — by bringing your used racquet to the airline’s kiosk near the match update board. Donated racquets will be refurbished and given to New Haven Youth Tennis and Education; Emirates will also support tennis and education programming in the community, by providing equipment as well as funding for clinics and after-school programs. Every fan (and even every non-ticket-holder) who donates a racquet will be entered to win two tickets to one of the final rounds of the 2012 U.S. Open in New York City.

8. Enjoy exclusive savings (if you're a Yale community member).

The tournament is offering discounts to members of the Yale community. Faculty, staff, and students will receive 25% off individual box seats, with preferred seating on the north baseline. These seats regularly go for $55 for session 1 (Aug. 19) and rise in price throughout the tournament, peaking at $91 for the final round. Yale community members can also purchase middle-tier seats for $15 during sessions 1-12 (Aug. 19-25). These seats normally begin at $19 and peak at $44. In addition, $2 of every middle-tier ticket that is purchased will be donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center at Yale-New Haven.

The exclusive discount is valid whether purchasing tickets online or by phone. To order online, visit the tournament’s ticket website and enter promotion code 2012YALE; to purchase by phone, call 855-464-8366 and reference Yale University.

For more information about these and other events at the New Haven Open at Yale, visit the tournament’s website.