2017 tennis tournament to open with sports legend Martina Navratilova

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On the evening of Monday, Aug. 21, the Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies will welcome alumni, students, faculty, and staff to the second annual Yale Opening Night Ceremony. A celebration of all things Yale, the event will feature live musical entertainment by student performing groups, a courtside reception hosted by President Peter Salovey, Yale-themed raffles and giveaways, and a flag procession of tournament competitors alongside Yale students and scholars.

A highlight of the festivities — which also will mark the 20th anniversary of women’s professional tennis in New Haven — will be a special appearance by Martina Navratilova, the winner of 59 grand slam tournament titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles and one of the most renowned trailblazers in women’s professional athletics. Navratilova, who held the world No. 1 ranking for 332 weeks between 1978 and 1987, will take part in the opening ceremonies alongside Salovey and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. She then will return to center court for the evening’s grand finale: a series of exhibition doubles sets pitting former pros and current Yale tennis players against celebrity guests from the sports world and local community. (A marquee match from the women’s singles main draw will follow the opening ceremony.)

Martina Navratilova

During the courtside club reception, which will take place prior to the evening’s matches, Salovey will conduct a raffle in which one member of the Yale community will win the chance to conduct the coin toss for the night’s second match — accompanied on court by campus icon Handsome Dan XVIII. The gathering will also include photo opportunities, a visit from a WTA Tour player, and drop-ins by Yale a cappella groups and other campus luminaries. The reception is open to Yale staff, students, faculty, and alumni and their guests; light hors-d’oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Tickets for this year’s Connecticut Open (Aug. 18-26) are on sale now, and all Yale affiliates can benefit from discounts and special offers throughout the tournament week. To request a pair of complimentary tickets in a special section reserved for members of the Yale family, use the code CO17YALE at the Connecticut Open website. Complimentary tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be used for any single session of the tournament except Thursday and Friday nights (sessions 9 and 11). Once the pool of complimentary tickets for Monday night has been exhausted — or if you wish to purchase extra seats in addition to your free pair of tickets — the same offer code qualifies to “buy one, get one free” on all gold- and silver-level tickets for opening night.

The code CO17YALE may also be used for a 25% discount on any ticket priced at either the gold or silver level for the Thursday and Friday night sessions, featuring the PowerShares Series men’s legends event. Thursday’s night session comprises a women’s quarterfinal match and the PowerShares semifinal between Michael Chang and James Blake. Friday evening starts with the marquee women’s semifinal match and culminates with the PowerShares men’s semifinal between John McEnroe and Mark Philippoussis, followed by the men’s legends final.

Tickets for Monday night (tournament session 3) include access to the opening ceremony and entry (for Yale affiliates and their guests) to the courtside club reception. Gates open at 5 p.m. with entertainment beginning at 5:30 p.m. Further details on the special events for members of the Yale community — including registration information for the reception with Salovey — will be released in July.

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