Town-gown collaboration, Olympic medalists in spotlight at CT Open kickoff

The opening ceremony of the Connecticut Open featured speeches from both New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Yale President Peter Salovey, as well as four Olympic medalists.

The night began outside Yale’s tennis stadium with dinner and a show — local food and beverage trucks and performances from Yale student a cappella groups The Citations and the Spizzwinks.

Attendees then entered the stadium for the opening ceremony, which was hosted by Yale University. Harp and Salovey hailed the tournament as a successful collaborative effort between the city and the university. The tennis players were then escorted onto the court by children from the New Haven Youth Tennis & Education group, a program that offers both tennis lessons and academic mentoring to New Haven kids. International Yale students carried the flags of the players’ countries, representing 13 nations in total.

The players include four 2016 Olympic medalists: Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, doubles gold medalists from Russia; Timea Bacsinszky, doubles silver medalist from Switzerland; and Petra Kvitova, singles bronze medalist from the Czech Republic, who won the Connecticut Open championship in 2014 and 2015.

The tournament ends Aug. 27. For more information, visit the Connecticut Open website.

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