May 10, 2017 10:05 AM


NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 9, 2017 – WTA star Sloane Stephens has been granted a wild card into the prestigious main draw of the 2017 Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies, tournament director Anne Worcester announced today. Stephens, who holds four WTA singles titles and reached a career-high world ranking of No.11 in October 2013, took part in a USTA kids’ clinic for 350 New Haven Third Graders at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale and was delighted to be the second player confirmed for this year’s WTA Premier event.

“I’m so excited to receive a wild card for this year’s Connecticut Open,” said Stephens, who recently underwent surgery on a left foot injury that has kept her sidelined since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. “I was disappointed when I had to withdraw at the last minute last year because of my knee injury. I have been working really hard on my rehab so it’s nice to have something to work towards and I am looking forward to being back competing this summer.”

A Premier WTA event that is part of the US Open Series, the 2017 Connecticut Open will be held August 18-26 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale and this summer celebrates 20 years of women’s tennis in New Haven. Worcester, who confirmed defending champion and world No.8 Agnieszka Radwanska as her first commitment player last month, added: “We are so pleased to be able to confirm a wild card for Sloane as we gear up for a fantastic summer of tennis. Giving back to the community is at the heart of what we do and we were so pleased that she was able to take part in our 14th Free Tennis Lesson.”

Stephens, 24, is an ambassador for Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects new and used shoes and clothing and redistributes it to those in need around the world. The Connecticut Open partnered with Soles4Souls in 2016 to donate a colossal 550lbs worth of shoes and Stephens announced a relaunch of that initiative this summer.

“The Connecticut Open is committed to giving back and I am thrilled that they will once again support my work for Soles4Souls,” said Stephens, who recently founded the Sloane Stephens Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that develops sustainable enrichment programs for school-aged children. “The Free Tennis Lesson is a fantastic example of the Connecticut Open being more than a tennis tournament. Encouraging children to learn and grow through the sport of tennis is a cause close to my heart and there was nothing better than seeing the smiles on their faces today.”

The Connecticut Open staged its Free Tennis Lesson for the 14th time this morning as part of its mission to leverage the excitement of world-class tennis to benefit the community and support youth causes. The introductory clinic, in conjunction with the USTA, USTA New England and New Haven Public Schools, aims to promote the sport of tennis and encourage New Haven youth into tennis lessons offered by New Haven Parks & Recreation throughout the spring, summer and fall. The clinic was also attended by Toni Harp, mayor of the City of New Haven, and Doctor Reginald Mayo, Superintendent of the New Haven Public Schools.

For more information about the 2017 Connecticut Open, to become a volunteer and to purchase tickets visit www.ctopen.org or call 203-776-7331.

About Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies
Connecticut Open presented by United Technologies is a women’s-only WTA tournament held at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale featuring four different competitions, including WTA qualifying, WTA singles, WTA doubles and PowerShares Men’s Legends. As a not-for-profit 501c3 charitable organization, its mission is to leverage the excitement of world-class women’s tennis to benefit the community and maximize support for women’s, youth and other causes in Connecticut. Owned by the State of Connecticut, the tournament generates $10 million in regional economic impact. The Connecticut Open is prominently featured domestically through 40 hours of combined coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3.  The event is also broadcast internationally to 160 countries and delivers more than 15 million viewers worldwide. For details about the tournament and tickets, visit www.ctopen.org or call 1-855-464-8366.

About United Technologies
United Technologies, based in Farmington, Connecticut, provides high technology products and services to the building and aerospace industries. To learn more about UTC, visit our website at www.utc.com or follow the company on Twitter: @UTC.

About the US Open Series
Now in its 14th season, the world's best players on the WTA and ATP World Tour are coming together for the US Open Series. Linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open, the US Open Series serves as a true regular season of hard court tennis.  Featuring a cohesive schedule, the Series centralizes the way tennis is viewed in North America, across multiple television and digital platforms. Fans will see today's top champions go head-to-head with tomorrow's emerging stars, as storylines develop throughout the summer season. Each tournament also engages its local community with a variety of outreach initiatives, including grassroots youth tennis clinics and activities.