You might not see the likes of James Blake or John McEnroe, but professional tennis could be returning to New Haven as soon as next year.
“We have hopes to use [the stadium] again to bring people into our city and our region,” said New Haven Mayor Toni Harp. “That’s a beautiful stadium out there.”
Mayor Harp serves on the board of the Tennis Foundation of Connecticut. The foundation is close to securing a lower-level event for the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
The former director of the Connecticut Open tells News 8 she hopes to have news on a deal as soon as next week.
The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President Garrett Sheehan said, “Connecticut and this region especially, we love tennis so to have some form of a tennis tournament would be great for this region.”
The Connecticut Open women’s event was sold earlier this year and was moved to China.
“We worked really hard for a couple of years to try to come up with sponsors,” Mayor Harp said. “And we were not as successful as we needed to be, so we were very disappointed.”
“It hurt a lot. The Connecticut Open had been here for so many years,” Sheehan said. “It was such a part of the community. It was such an exciting event. To lose that really was a disappointment.”
He says a new tournament would benefit the entire region.
“Being able to talk about New Haven when we bring in world-class tennis talent. It makes a difference,” Sheehan said.”
For months, the foundation has been working to secure a replacement pro tournament at a more affordable cost.
The new tournament would likely be part of the Oracle Challenger Series.
Mayor Harp says there could be opportunities to add other tournaments as well.
This city has hosted professional tennis every year since 1990. This will be the first summer without it.
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