Without a net: 5 non-tennis things to enjoy at the Connecticut Open

There’s more than tennis to enjoy at the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, being held Aug. 15–23 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale on Derby Avenue.

Here’s a look at just some of these attractions.

1. Aetna Kids Day

This event, one of the most popular days at the tournament each year, will take place Sunday, Aug. 17. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) pros will be on hand for tennis clinics, giveaways, and autograph sessions. In addition, the first 1,000 kids will receive an Aetna goody bag. Tickets start at $13 (all day activities/matches included).

2. Military Appreciation Night

Monday, Aug. 18 will be Military Appreciation Night, presented by United Technologies. Active-duty, guard, reserve, and retired military members can get one free ticket with every full-price ticket purchased and receive complimentary hospitality in the United Technologies Military Outpost. U.S. service members will be honored on Stadium Court with a special ceremony featuring the USO Show Troupe performing the National Anthem and a Color Guard presentation prior to the start of the first evening match. The USO troupe will also perform on the Connecticut Stage in the picnic area 5-6:30 p.m. In addition, there will be a free tennis clinic in the Aetna FitZone exclusively for active-duty military, veterans, and their families. The Knights of Columbus will provide the first 2,000 fans through the gates with an American flag.

3. “Destination a Day” drawings

Tournament officials will be giving away “Destination a Day” vacation packages during the evening sessions Tuesday-Friday, Aug. 19–22, and during the finals on Saturday, Aug. 23. Fans who register at Guest Services, or mail in their entry (45 Yale Ave, New Haven, CT 06515), will be entered to win packages to Wimbledon, The Old Course at St. Andrews, Curtain Bluff Resort in Antigua, Sea Island Resort in Georgia, and the Mayflower Grace in Litchfield Hills, Connecticut.

4. Tennis stars "spinning" for cancer

In support of Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Closer to Free Ride on Sept. 6, there will be two spin bikes in Yale New Haven Health System’s booth at the tournament. All the WTA players — as well as Men’s Legends competitors James Blake, Andy Roddick, and Jim Courier — have been “challenged” to ride at least a mile. Tournament sponsors United Technologies, Aetna, and First Niagara have pledged a donation per mile ridden by the players. After riding, players will sign the spin bike, and at the conclusion of the tournament the signed bike will be showcased in the lobby of Smilow Cancer Hospital until the Closer to Free Ride, when it will be auctioned off to raise additional funds for Smilow.

5. Food, drink, and no-waiting technology

The tournament’s Food Court this year will feature offerings by local restaurants and food trucks including Caseus (grilled cheese), La Petite France (crepes), Tony’s Orangeside Donuts, Valencia Luncheria (Venezuelan food), and Spuds Your Way (baked potato). Fans can also chow down on food from The Lobster Shack (seafood) and Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream), as well as burgers, hot dogs, pizza, salads, and more.

This year, fans will be able to use GoPago (http://www.gopago.com/), a service that will allow them to use their smartphones anywhere on site to order and pick up food from a special express line at the concession stand in the stadium. This technology is designed to reduce wait times and allow fans to catch as much action as possible while at the tournament.

Also new this year is the Baseline Tap House, a beer garden presented by Goose Island Beer Company, which will feature a selection of craft beers from Connecticut and beyond including Stoney Creek IPA & Amber Ale, Thomas Hooker Blonde, Spiked Seltzer, Bluepoint Bluberry, and Grey Sail Flagship Ale.

For more information about other happenings during the tournament, visit the Connecticut Open website.

Discounts for Yale affiliates

The Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies has a special ticket deal for Yale employees.

Early round session tickets are just $5 for Yale staff and faculty. The $5 tickets are offered for Session 1 on Sunday, Aug. 17 and Session 5 on Tuesday, Aug. 19. To receive the special offer, visit the Connecticut Open website and use promotional code CO14YU.

Yale affiliates can also purchase adult tickets at a 25% discount for the other sessions of the tournament, which takes place Aug. 15-23. For this discount, use the same promotional code mentioned above on the website or call 855-464-8366 and reference the Yale University discount.