Connecticut Open tennis: Your guide to Yale’s opening night festivities

Salovey, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, and tournament director Anne Worcester‎ welcome the players at the 2016 CT Open.
The opening ceremony will feature a procession of tournament players accompanied by Yale international students and scholars. (Photo credit: Michael Marsland)

The third annual Opening Night Presented by Yale at the Connecticut Open tennis tournament takes place on Monday, Aug. 20 at the Connecticut Tennis Center, 45 Yale Ave., beginning at 5 p.m. Event tickets are still available (see below for details about special Yale ticket discounts and shuttle service).

Opening ceremony

The cornerstone of opening night is a kick-off ceremony beginning at 6:45 p.m. that will feature the tournament players in a flag procession alongside Yale international students and scholars from the competitors’ home countries. Yale’s canine mascot, Handsome Dan XVIII, will lead the procession onto stadium court, where he will be joined by President Peter Salovey, Director of Yale Athletics Vicky Chun, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp, Connecticut Open Director Anne Worcester, and other special guests. Yale’s graduate and professional student co-ed a cappella group, The Citations, will perform the national anthem.

A marquee women’s singles match will follow immediately after the ceremony, and the night of tennis will wrap up with an exhibition headlined by former world No. 1, grand slam champion, and Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Davenport. Two-time Connecticut Open champion James Blake, Yale women’s tennis team newcomer Caroline Dunleavy ’21, and incoming Yale men’s tennis team member Michael Sun ’22 will join in the friendly competition.

Street fair and ‘passport’ prizes

Yale School of Nursing’s “Have Bones … Will Travel” exhibit
Yale School of Nursing’s “Have Bones … Will Travel” exhibit is among the activities at the opening night street fair. (Photo courtesy of Linda Honan)

New to this year’s opening night is a Yale street fair on the tournament grounds beginning when gates open at 5 p.m. A trail of bulldog pawprints will lead visitors to a series of interactive stations showcasing some of the university’s offerings in the arts, scientific research, athletics, and community engagement. Attendees can unleash their inner musician at the Music in Schools Initiative’s musical instrument “petting zoo”; explore the collections of the Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale Center for British Art, and Yale University Art Gallery; learn about the wonders of the human body at the School of Nursing’s “Have Bones … Will Travel” exhibit; test their skills at the Yale Athletics booth; enter to win a gift card from The Shops at Yale; adorn themselves at a face-painting kiosk sponsored by Discovery to Cure; and discover opportunities and benefits at Yale for both current and prospective university employees, including those available to city residents through the New Haven Hiring Initiative. From 5:30 p.m. until the start of the opening ceremony, musical entertainment will be provided in the tournament food court area by the Steve Atwood Band, a classic rock group made up of faculty and friends of the Yale School of Medicine.

The first 1,000 people to come through the tournament gates will receive a Yale-logo phone sleeve containing a “passport” card to the opening night street fair with a raffle entry form on the reverse. Guests who visit and have their cards stamped at all six designated street fair stations can complete the raffle form and enter to win one of three grand prizes: a $100 gift card to the Yale Bookstore, a year-long family membership to the Peabody Museum, or four box-seat tickets to the Connecticut Open finals on Saturday, Aug. 25. Look for the raffle entry boxes at the Yale Staffing & New Haven Community hiring table near the entrance to stadium court.

Photographs with Handsome Dan

From 5:45 to 6:15 p.m. on opening night, Handsome Dan XVIII will appear at the Avangrid Power Zone opposite the tournament pro shop and next to the ESPN Game Day Desk. Line up early to get your picture taken with the Yale bulldog. All photographs will be posted after the event on the Yale Flickr photostream.

Handsome Dan
Yale’s mascot, Handsome Dan XVIII, will appear at a photo booth on opening night. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Discepolo)

Yale community perks

All university affiliates — current faculty, staff, students, and postdocs, as well as alumni — can enjoy special Yale community benefits on opening night. Bring your Yale ID, and look for the Yale affiliates hospitality table near the entrance to stadium court. The first 500 Yale community members to visit the hospitality table will receive $10 food vouchers valid for food and soft drink purchases from any of the tournament’s food trucks, or at The Stand Roadside BBQ concession under the edge of stadium court. At the hospitality table, Yale affiliates also can enter to win two special, Yale-only opening night contests — the opportunity to appear on court with Lindsay Davenport and James Blake and participate in the ceremonial pre-match coin toss, and an “instant upgrade” to box seats for the remainder of the evening’s matches. Both prize drawings will be held immediately following the on-court ceremony, entries must be submitted by 6:45 p.m.

Getting there

Special Yale Shuttle service to and from the Connecticut Open will run all evening on Aug. 20 beginning at 4:30 p.m. Shuttles are free to members of the Yale community and will run continuously on a rolling basis between College Street (at Wall Street) and the Central Avenue entrance to the Connecticut Tennis Center. Look for the sandwich boards indicating the pick-up and drop-off locations, and for the shuttles marked “CT OPEN TENNIS.” To track the shuttles in real time, download the TransLoc Rider app, available for iOS and Android, and choose “CT OPEN” as the route to follow.

For those who prefer to drive to the stadium, the tournament’s website includes driving directions and parking information

Yale ticket discounts

This year’s Connecticut Open features new and enhanced ticket deals for members of the university community, who can purchase tickets at significantly reduced prices for all sessions, including the men’s legends nights and the WTA singles and doubles finals on Saturday, Aug. 25. Bronze-level seats are $10 each, silver-level seats are $20, and gold-level seats are $40 while supplies last. (The non-Yale price for gold-level box seats ranges from $60 to $110.) To receive these special rates, use the code CO18YALE when ordering from the tournament box office. In addition, the tournament is offering a 25% Yale community discount on premium platinum-level seats; to purchase platinum tickets, call the ticket office at 855-464-8366.

To learn more

A complete schedule of events for the weeklong tournament — including a new Beer Fest at the Connecticut Open on Aug. 25 and the men’s legends matches on Aug. 23 and 24 — is posted on the Connecticut Open’s website.

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