Connecticut Open tennis tournament to leave New Haven
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Open tennis tournament is leaving New Haven after a 21-year run in the city, organizers said Friday.
The operators of the tournament have sold the sanction for the WTA event to APG, a sports and entertainment company that is planning to put on a tournament in September in Zhengzhou, China.
The financial model of the Connecticut Open was no longer viable, organizers said. The Tennis Foundation of Connecticut said it is exploring whether another professional tennis event can be drawn to the city.
"It has been an amazing 21-year run for women's professional tennis in New Haven, and we are truly grateful to all the fans, volunteers, players, media and sponsors involved," tournament director Anne Worcester said.
The tournament traditionally has taken place in August, the final WTA tuneup before the U.S. Open.
New Haven Mayor Toni Harp said the tournament has helped to boost the city financially and bring it global attention since it began in 1998.
"We remain hopeful that professional tennis will return to New Haven in the very near future," Harp said.
The tournament's finances have been tenuous for several years and it nearly moved out of state before Connecticut bought the rights to the tournament in 2013 for $618,000. In 2017, the state completed a $2.5 million renovation of the facility where the tournament is held in hopes of getting more out of the venue than just the tennis event.
"It stayed in New Haven due to efforts by many people when there was almost certainty five years ago that it would leave for another state. Five additional years of economic impact, marketing of the state around the world, and year-round community outreach programs is something to be celebrated," said Mark Ojakian, who helped to save the tournament when he was former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's chief of staff.