Rising Star Melanie Oudin, Pilot Pen Tennis, City of New Haven and USTA Announce Major Community Tennis Project

July 14, 2009 07:09 AM
Rising American tennis star Melanie Oudin today announced that Pilot Pen Tennis, City of New Haven and USTA New England will embark on a major refurbishing of the Edgewood and East Shore Parks tennis courts, which will ensure that New Haven residents of all ages have access to facilities in good condition to play tennis.

Oudin, who just last week became the youngest American woman to reach the fourth round of Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati in 1993, will play in the qualifying draw at this year’s Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US Open Series event on the ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour to be held August 21-29, 2009 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

Since 2004, a partnership among New Haven Parks & Rec, USTA New England and Pilot Pen Tennis has helped more than 3,000 youth through affordable Parks & Rec tennis programs and lessons offered throughout the year. Numerous kids have gone on to participate competitively in programs such as USTA Team Tennis, USTA-sanctioned Junior Tournaments, High School Tennis Teams and the State Tennis Championships. As interest in tennis in New Haven has burgeoned, the courts at East Shore and Edgewood Parks, where the bulk of local tennis programs take place and where local high school teams play, have started to show significant wear (more than a half mile of linear cracks).

With this in mind, the City of New Haven recently made a historic decision to spend $155,000 towards court repairs at these two parks. In addition to significant engineering and logistical expertise, the USTA has also committed a minimum of $25,000 to augment what the City is investing. The project will be completed later this year and is another example of how the Pilot Pen, City of New Haven and USTA New England are working together to leverage the excitement of professional tennis to build participation at the community level.

“Each year we have built upon the partnership among the City of New Haven, Pilot Pen Tennis and the USTA, and this year we are taking a quantum leap,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “I believe that the next great tennis star will be found on New Haven’s public courts, and that is why we are supporting this project.”

“Having three dynamic organizations committed to the future of tennis in New Haven is extremely exciting,” said Pilot Pen Tennis Tournament Director Anne Worcester. “And having young American Melanie Oudin here today is another way of connecting the rising stars of professional tennis to community tennis and to the kids in New Haven – the next generation of American tennis players.”

“The USTA was founded upon the principle of promoting and growing the game of tennis, and this project will aid in doing exactly that,” said Jeff Waters, USTA New England Executive Director. “The best way to grow the game is to make it as fun and accessible as possible for everyone. By working with the City of New Haven to provide excellent facilities, and by working with Pilot Pen Tennis and New Haven Parks & Rec to provide affordable lessons, we are well on our way to achieving our mission.”

For more information about New Haven Youth Tennis programs, visit www.tennisnewhaven.com. For more information about Pilot Pen Tennis, tickets, or how to become a volunteer, please call the Pilot Pen Tennis Box Office, 888/99-PILOT, 203/776-7331, or log on to www.pilotpentennis.com.

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick ®

Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Schick, an Olympus US Open Series event on the ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, will be held August 21-29, 2009 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale and defending champion and World No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki, World No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova, World No. 13 Marion Bartoli, former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Amelie Mauresmo, up-and-coming star Alize Cornet, Americans Mardy Fish and Taylor Dent, and French Open quarterfinalist Tommy Robredo. The 2008 Pilot Pen, whose champions are Caroline Wozniacki and Marin Cilic, drew more than 81,000 spectators and was televised nationally for 16 hours on ESPN2 and CBS Sports. An economic impact study conducted in 2008 showed that the event generated an estimated total gross economic impact on the New Haven regional economy of more than $26 million.

About the Olympus US Open Series

The Olympus US Open Series brings together the 10 summer tournaments in North America, three television networks, tennis’ sanctioning bodies and top corporate sponsors during the summer tennis season. In 2008 the Series continued its enhancements to the sport, including more national TV hours, live back-to-back Finals every weekend, bonus prize money at the US Open, and a significant national marketing campaign.

About USTA New England

USTA New England, one of 17 regional sections across the country that comprise the United States Tennis Association (USTA), is a not-for-profit organization committed to promoting and developing the growth of tennis and increasing participation in the sport in New England by offering quality recreational and competitive programs for people of all ages and abilities. Founded in 1927 as the New England Lawn Tennis Association, USTA New England boasts nearly 31,000 individual members, 650 organizational members, 500 volunteers, and a professional staff of 20. For more information, log on to www.ustanewengland.com.