NEW HAVEN, Conn., June 7, 2016 – The Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, a WTA event that is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, announced several major tournament updates during its annual media day held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Tournament director Anne Worcester joined city, state and sponsor representatives to provide an update on this year’s tournament, including the return of four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki.New for 2016 is the addition of an Opening Night Ceremony presented by Yale University, Girls Day and Night Out as well as the addition of more than 15 new sponsors and five new shopping booths. Opening Night Ceremony will feature all WTA Main Draw Singles players and Yale student flag-bearers—members of the university’s international student community who will carry flags for each of the countries represented by players in the tournament. In addition, Yale University and the City of New Haven will mark the start of the tournament with special appearances by community leaders, a ceremonial coin toss, and entertainment provided by Yale performing groups.“We are so proud to sponsor the Connecticut Open’s opening night ceremony,” said Yale University President Peter Salovey. “The tournament is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and all of us at Yale are looking forward to kicking off the festivities with an evening that will bring our university, the local community, and a world-class international sporting event together in a new and exciting way.” The Opening Night Ceremony will take place on Monday, August 22.Also new in 2016 is a Girls Day and Night Out on Tuesday, August 23 featuring the COURTGIRL Lifestyle Experience during the day and evening sessions. Mothers, daughters, sisters and girlfriends can look forward to makeovers, trunk shows, boutique fashion brands and much more.Joining the player field for 2016 is four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki. Wozniacki has posted a 28-4 record at the tournament, earning her the nickname “Queen of New Haven.” She has 23 career WTA singles titles and held the No. 1 World Ranking for 67 weeks from 2010-2012. An ankle injury has limited the Dane in 2016, but Wozniacki returns to action today in Nottingham (UK) at the start of the grass-court season.“Coming back to New Haven and to Yale is always special for me, and I look forward to competing at the Connecticut Open in August,” said Wozniacki. “The fans are always very supportive and the atmosphere on the court and around the grounds is terrific. I’ve had tremendous success in New Haven and hope to make a run at another title.”The Dane joins a player field that includes two-time defending champion Petra Kvitova, who looks to tie Wozniacki with four Connecticut Open titles; Madison Keys, a finalist at Rome; and Sloane Stephens, winner of titles at Auckland, Acapulco and Charleston this year.In addition to the above stars, rising American player Shelby Rogers has also joined the player field. Rogers, who was ranked No. 108 entering the French Open, produced a magical run at Roland Garros and reached the quarterfinals, before falling to eventual Champion and now World No. 2 Garbine Muguruza. Only seven other women since 1984 have made the French Open quarters with a triple-digit ranking, and none faced a more challenging road than Rogers, who defeated the No. 25, No. 17 and No. 10 seeds at Roland Garros. Rogers, now ranked No. 60 in the world, will be making her first appearance in New Haven.“By reaching the semifinals or winning the tournament seven of the past eight years she has played in New Haven, Caroline Wozniacki has become a name synonymous with the Connecticut Open,” said Worcester. “We remain focused on featuring great champions like Caroline and Petra as well as strong American stars like Madison and Sloane and rising talent such as Shelby. The early field is off to a solid start and we believe it will only get stronger before the start in August.”
said Worcester. ““We’re looking forward to another great tournament season and continuing the momentum of a successful 2015 where we saw an overall increase in attendance and revenue,” said Ben Barnes, secretary, Office of Policy Management, State of Connecticut. “We’re very pleased with the positive economic impact the tournament provides to Greater New Haven and the state of Connecticut.”
(May 26, 2013) A few of the quotes from the news conferences from Day 1 at the French Open.
Asked about her preparation for Roland Garros:
“Definitely, you know ‑‑ definitely been struggling. Just wanted to come here and try to ‑‑ you know, try to play. I mean, I think my movement is awesome, but I just haven’t played any matches and just haven’t hit any serves, and it’s just hard to be perfect in the first match.
“I think there were periods where, you know, I found some rhythm and there were periods where I didn’t. I tried very hard, but my opponent just played a little better.”
Venus admitted that problems with her back prevented her from serving with more speed:
“I can’t really serve very hard. It’s painful when I do that. But I’m getting better. I just, you know, ran out of time to get better for this tournament.
“My strategy was more or less to put the ball in, and that’s very difficult for me, too, because that’s not who I am. But that’s all I had. So that was challenging to, you know, be conservative on the serve and then go to be aggressive during the point. It’s like, you know, you have to, you know, suddenly change your mindset. That’s a little challenging.
“So I’m just, you know, obviously going to try to, you know ‑‑ I want my serve back. I’m going to try to get it back for Wimbledon.”
“Sometimes you can just play yourself into the tournaments, and maybe if I was able to win that match maybe I could have continued to play better off the ground. I’m not sure how much better I could play off the serve.
“That’s sometimes how it works in tennis, but it’s just been a very challenging injury for me.”
Asked about her rivalry with Martina Hingis and if her role as coach is a good thing for women’s tennis.
“I don’t know if it’s good for women’s tennis, but it’s exciting to see Martina around and see her wisdom going to another player. And Pavlyuchenkova, I know she had a really good win today. Tough win. It was good for her.
“I have seen improvements already. I think they make a great team. They get along well. They seem to have so much fun. I think it’s really nice.
Pablo Carreno Busta
After his loss to Roger Federer, Carreno Busta was asked about the difference between playing the futures and challenger events versus the ATP Tour.
“Yeah, in futures the players plays good, but maybe the level was really different. Roger is No. 2 of the world and was maybe the best in the history, so I think that it’s impossible compare the level in futures with the level of Roger.
“I think I play eight futures this year and I play really good. I won seven, and it was very, very good for my confidence and for my level in tennis.
“But I think now for me the best time to be better is playing these matches and with these opponents.”
Federer shared his opinion about the Sunday starts at the French Open:
“Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, I remember they sort of forced me to play on Sunday years back to promote their Sunday thing. I was against it just because I felt like the way they got the Sunday, you know, first was maybe, oh, let’s try it out. Next thing you know like they have it for a lifetime or what? Is that how it works?
“So I didn’t agree with how things went along. From that standpoint today, you know, it is what it is, but it is the only Grand Slam that has it. Wimbledon does it in 13 days and the French does it in 15.
“So it doesn’t make sense, but I do understand that a weekend for tennis is very important for the people who can show up instead of ‑‑ it anyway is very odd that we do start the tournament week on a Monday where everybody goes back to work. Doesn’t really work.
“But, anyway, it’s how we are. So I get the Sunday start, but it’s always something that’s a debate, you know, within the ATP and the French Open.
“But I’m happy this time around. I told them if they wanted me to play Sunday, whatever, I’m fine with it. They took that opportunity right away, so… (He said smiling)”
Last year’s losing finalist gave her thoughts about returning to the finals this year:
” I’m not thinking about that. It’s a new tournament for me. Also last year was unbelievable tournament, best tournament of my life, how you say.
“I don’t want to think about that. I just want to come here and play another tournament, a new tournament like I do other week, try to think that it’s important tournament, but is only one more tournament.
“So I try to be like that, try to concentrate on my tennis, not too much about last year or what I defend and these things.”
After his loss to Milos Raonic,Malise gave his houghts on playing Roland Garros next year:
“Perhaps I will come back, but not necessarily in the top ranks. I don’t know. It’s difficult really to say. After last year I felt as though I was really done so I don’t know if I could have come back, but of course here I am. Who knows what’s going to happen now.
“But I would like to play one more year. It’s nice playing here because it’s all very special here because everybody is here and the Belgians are here.
“But you never know. You never know what the future will hold.”
Asked about how comfortable she felt playing on clay:
“It’s definitely a bit of a different game, but it’s nothing that we can’t adjust to. I can’t really speak for the other players, but it’s a bit of a challenge. You have to change up your strategy a little bit, especially if you’re a big hitter.
“It takes a little bit of effort, but it’s fun and it’s a good challenge.
Stanford grad Burdette was asked what advice would she give high school seniors deciding whether or not to go to college.
“I think one of the biggest things is to realize that everybody is different. So your path may be very different from someone else’s.
“When it comes to assessing your game, I would say get a lot of opinions from other coaches, hear what they have to say.
“Also, what are you comfortable with right now? Do you feel like you’re in a position mentally and emotionally where you can grow and develop while you’re on your own on the tour? Then go for it. You have a good support system, financially everything is in line.
“If you feel like you can’t do that, then school is a great option. It’s a place where you can grow and develop and go through some tough times. You have a team there to support you and coaches with you at all times; whereas on the tour you’re a little bit more on your own.
“So it depends on the individual. You really just have to lok at what will work for you.”
Raonic who is now working with former pro Ivan Ljubicic commented on the difference between working with his old coach and now Ljubicic.
“I don’t think there is really too much difference. I think just since it’s a new start with something, you just sort of go forward with it, with the game plan, and you sort of just lay that trust there.
“And just part of it is to be a bit more aggressive, to be quite a bit more aggressive and try to make the opponent more and more comfortable and not really settle for rally shots, trying to have more purpose on every shot, trying to sort of get that rather than waiting for my opponent to give it to me. Sort of reaching out there and trying to take it for myself.
“Ivan is helping me out as a friend at the moment.”
What was going on in Simon’s mind when Hewitt evened the fifth set at 5-5:
“Well, I knew in the game I had to play against him, but unfortunately I just didn’t manage to do it at the beginning. That’s the least I can say.
“I was feeling bad. I didn’t have a good rhythm on the court. It takes me a long time to find it. Then it was better, a lot better. I was in control.
“But unfortunately at the end he played one more time great tennis. And it’s never easy to finish when you see the guy coming back 5‑1, 5‑2, 5‑3 after a few match points.
“So I’m just happy that I managed to win this one. I think it was a very difficult match today for me, and I just hope I’m going to be better on the next round.”
“It was more just blisters on my toe. You know, it was uncomfortable but you can play through it. He obviously stepped up his game from the start of the third set. I was able to hang in there. I had small opportunities.
“Broke back and got on serve at 3‑All and couldn’t quite ‑‑ if I could have kept in front in the third set and put a bit more pressure on him towards the end of the set I might have had a bit of a chance.”
“You know, would have liked to have been on the other end of it. Yeah, disappointing, but, yeah, I didn’t obviously come here with massive expectations.”
On only his second win at Roland Garros:
“Yeah, feels great to get a win. My other win was on this court, too, so that’s the only court I can win on here.
“The clay season has been a little rough. Pulled out of Houston, and the Masters Series, I played well in both of them, but took two losses. And then Nice was a little disappointing.
“I just focused on my attitude out here today and played the best match I’ve played all year on any surface.”
“My first Grand Slam main draw win. And especially against a French player. I was expecting the crowd to be against me. I was ready for a battle. She’s a good player and has got a lot of power. Great serve.
“So I was ready for a battle; things turned out in my favor today.”
On whether or not he’ll retire after this year:
“I made my decision. Because it’s still great pleasure. So it’s going to be another year where I’ll have to play on the tournaments on which I feel good.
“But I made that decision. I have too much fun on the court. I’m in good shape. And it’s always pleasant to have people supporting you, saying, Well, you’re one of the last ones playing with the kind of game you have.
“So I will probably have a lighter schedule. But there are tournaments I like playing on, and I will continue.”
Ferrer on his admiration of Lleyton Hewitt:
“Well, I saw what he did during his match, Hewitt, yeah. He’s a player whom I admire. He was like a benchmark for me from the very first day when I started playing tennis, because he’s such an excellent player.
“But, you know, at the end of the day everybody does their best, and experience counts a lot. But the most important thing is that you have to love tennis. Lleyton was No. 1. Well, today he’s not got his best ranking, but he’s still fighting.
“And we, the younger generations ‑‑ or, rather, when we were young and for younger players, it’s a reference. He should be considered as a reference. They should look at him and see that he always reacts in a positive way. Even though sometimes you’re down, your scores are awful, you do your best. And this is something I admire from Lleyton.”
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News