top of page

Qualifying Rounds at CT Open

I have to start today with sharing the feeling being grateful and proud to represent my brand Tweener Head in my home state of Connecticut. This tournament has changed as much as I have over the years, and it's exciting to see it thriving in New Haven,

For those who are not familiar with the Connecticut Open, it has been played in New Haven, Connecticut since 1998. What used to be a combined event with the ATP World Tour, evolved into a WTA event in 2011. From bouncing around locations, trying to find the right home in the United States, the Connecticut Open has featured many hall of fame winners. Champions like Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport have graced the courts of New Haven and thrilled their fans. This tournament has climbed the ranks of the WTA premiership where it has gone from a WTA Tier IV to a Premier WTA event. A Premier WTA event is the third highest/most important women's tournament. In comparison, the men's tour has 9 Masters 1000, while the Women have 4 Premier Mandatory and 5 Premier tournaments. It's great to see the balance of top events for the men and women.

The Grounds

While nothing has been permanently set up yet and not all the booths are fully equipped yet, the setting for the tournament is top professional quality. It's hard to believe that I played my high school conference matches at these very courts, as it has a totally new vibe. It spreads wide and far for most of the smaller courts, and the main stadium really "pops" when you first see it. I also remember coming to the "Pilot Pen" as it was known, and searching out the top players for their autographs. I was lucky enough to get Safina's, which if I looked hard enough would find somewhere in my house.

The Media Center

I would like to thank our hosts as they definitely treat the media well. After a couple small glitches with my badge, I found my way to the media room which was air conditioned with a fully stocked fridge of Brisk Ice Tea and conveniently located right under the main court -- a cozy center with lots of helpful people around.

Belinda Bencic Post Match Interview

At 21 years old, Belinda Bencic has been battling foot and back injuries that have sidelined her for most of the big tournaments in the past couple of years. Fortunately for her, she has been getting better, and back into the rhythm of her strokes. Success creates more success, and her second round match fought hard and beat rising star and 16 year-old, Osuigwe.

After her match, I had the chance to ask her two questions: "How do you mentally recover from a match where you have had multiple match points?" (like the scenario she was in at Montreal and Cincinnati), and "What is it like to see younger players [like Osuigwe] on this kind of stage?"

Her first response to my question was that the hardest about recovering from those situations is waking up the next morning. Like a hangover, everyone wakes up regretting what happened the day before. But, the way to recover is to go back to the practice courts and start over. "Every day is a new day, and you have to move on to the next tournament. My new coach has been helping me a lot with that." And as far as playing younger players, she says that "...it is a new feeling." Born in 1967, she has been used to being the youngest player (btw, two years younger than yours truly, ugh). She said, "I haven't paid attention to it" but she could see how this will become more common.