Defending champ Radwanska, Navratilova to return to Connecticut Open
The defending champion, as well as an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, will be among the top attractions at the Connecticut Open this summer.
Agnieszka Radwanska will return to defend her 2016 title, while Martina Navratilova will also be on-hand to help celebrate 20 years of women’s tennis in New Haven.
Radwanska is currently ranked No. 8 in the world and boasts 20 WTA titles, including last year’s win over Elina Svitolina. Radwanska didn’t lose a single set en route to her title, besting three-time champion Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. This will be her seventh visit to New Haven.
“It’s always a strong tournament in New Haven,” she said. “Great players, the draw is always very tough. Winning the tournament and not losing a set, sometimes the score looks easy, but it’s not easy. I think I just did a really good job.”
Radwanska was the last wild-card entry into last year’s tournament. This year, she’s the very first player to commit.
“I didn’t want to make the same mistake,” she said with a laugh. “I wanted to be the first one.”
Tournament director Anne Worcester began campaigning for Radwanska to return as far back as last year’s U.S. Open. She pretty much sealed the deal during a meeting in Miami a few weeks ago.
“She doesn’t have to commit early, give us her name and likeness,” Worcester noted. “It shows the positive feelings she has about New Haven and the Connecticut Open. Last year was the beginning of a real winning streak. She had a fantastic late summer, into the fall. We watched that, and we know it bodes well for a player wanting to come back.”
Now, she’ll do so as a defending champ.
“It’s always special,” Radwanska said. “I think it’s always good pressure. You have good memories, know the tournament very well. It’s always great to come back to Center Court where you’ve been before.”
Navratilova, one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, will participate in the Opening Ceremony before the Monday, Aug. 21 evening session and play in an exhibition doubles match following the 7 p.m. night session match. For one of the two sets, Navratilova will play mixed doubles against Mats Wilander, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion. Other celebrity participants will be announced at a later date.
“When we were talking about how we wanted to celebrate 20 years of women’s tennis in New Haven, she was the name that popped up,” said Worcester. “She’s certainly one of the greatest players in the history of our sport, a pioneer on so many levels. She brought fitness to women’s pro tennis and set a standard for so many players that they still live up to today.”
Radwanska, who worked with Navratilova for a short while, is one of those admirers.
“She’s a legend in women’s tennis,” the Polish native said. “What she’s achieved is unbelievable. Seeing her on the court is so great. She’s someone we all want to watch. She’s done so much for women’s tennis, that’s for sure.”
Navratilova played in the New Haven tournament once, in 2004, in doubles play.
The 2017 Connecticut Open will be held Aug. 18-26 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
Fans who want the best seats to the Navratilova exhibition and PowerShares Series men’s matches (Aug. 24-25), which will feature Tennis Hall of Famers Michael Chang and John McEnroe along with Fairfield’s James Blake and defending champion Mark Philippoussis, can secure them by purchasing a multiple session package. Packages include Weeklong Box Seats (all 14 sessions), After Hours (every evening session and Saturday finals), Final Four (last four sessions which includes PowerShares Series), and Pick Four Flex (choice of four early round sessions).
Daily tickets for the tournament are now on sale and seating at the Connecticut Open Tennis Center has been renumbered to streamline the ticket-buying process. The 200 and 100 level sections will now replace the Stadium Box and Courtside Box Seats, respectively. In addition to outstanding women’s tennis, fans can also look forward to a week-long festival of food, music, and activities such as ShopRite Kids Day (Sunday, August 20), Young Professionals Night (August 22), Superhero and Princess Day/Night (August 23), and United Technologies Military Appreciation Day (August 26).
For more information about the 2017 Connecticut Open and to purchase tickets visit www.ctopen.org or call 203-776-7331.