By Erin Maher
Reigning Roland Garros junior champion and rising WTA star Whitney Osuigwe took part in a USTA kids’ clinic Wednesday, as over 400 New Haven third graders filled the courts at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale for a Net Generation Free Tennis Lesson.
The clinic, staged in conjunction with the USTA, USTA New England and New Haven Public Schools, marks the 100-day countdown to the beginning of the 2018 Connecticut Open.
The introductory clinic is an integral part of the Connecticut Open’s mission to leverage the excitement of world-class women’s tennis to benefit the community and support local youth causes. The Net Generation Free Tennis Lesson promoted the sport and encouraged New Haven youth into tennis lessons offered by New Haven Parks & Recreation throughout the spring, summer and fall.
The clinic was attended by Toni Harp, mayor of the City of New Haven, Dr. Carol Birks, superintendent of the New Haven Public Schools, Tournament Director Anne Worcester and Osuigwe, who will receive a wild card into the Connecticut Open qualifying draw and recently reached the quarterfinals of the $80,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s event in Charleston, S.C.
“I was honored to be asked to attend the Net Generation Free Tennis Lesson today," said Osuigwe. "Encouraging children to learn and grow through the sport of tennis and to see them being given the opportunities I was is really important to me. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces today, and I hope many of them choose to keep playing. I want to thank the Connecticut Open for giving me this wild-card opportunity, and I can’t wait to be back here this summer.”
There are exactly 100 days to go until the 2018 Connecticut Open, which will be held from Aug. 17-25.
Net Generation is the new youth initiative of the USTA, which aims to inspire the next generation of tennis players by embracing all aspects of youth play for kids aged 5-18. The USTA has a long-standing commitment to encouraging healthy and active lifestyles among children.
For more information about the 2018 Connecticut Open, including multi-session packages, weeklong box seats, sponsorship packages, hospitality and becoming a volunteer, visit www.ctopen.org or call 203-776-7331.
Daily tickets for the tournament will be on sale starting the week of June 11.