Sneak peek at preparations for the Connecticut Open

By: Kent Pierce

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – In just two days, they’ll be swinging their racquets at the Connecticut Open.
It’s nine days of great tennis that takes months of planning. Before they can play tennis, they first have to build what amounts to a small city next to the Connecticut Tennis Center.

They have to feed and entertain thousands of people. Play starts this weekend, but that hard work begins this week. For instance, any great event relies on great food.

“We’re going to feed between 50-60,000 people,” said Kerry Dunne, the head of R Entertainment. “Great meals, lobster, we have a full menu.”

The folks at R Entertainment are in charge of feeding all the players, and supplying the on-site restaurants.

“The logistics start 6 months out, ordering all the food,” Dunne explained. Trucks are already onsite delivering food. “We’ve got 25 people in 2 different kitchens, chopping and preparing.”

That’s in addition to the five food trucks that will be parked in the “midway” section. That area will be full of booths and activities. There will be live music on the stage every night. During the day, the Beardsley Zoo and the Mystic Aquarium are bringing animals. You can even climb a rock wall. Plus, every day has a theme.

“Aetna kids day on Sunday the 23rd,” said Tournament Director Anne Worcester. “Monday night is UT (United Technologies) military appreciation night with a military outpost and complimentary tickets for all veterans and all military.”

We haven’t even gotten to the tennis yet. Thursday and Friday will have legends matches pitting James Blake against Andy Roddick and John McEnroe versus Jim Courier. Then there’s the main event featuring 6 of the top ten women players in the world. Plus, all the qualifying matches for the US Open that start Friday.

“And that’s the best deal in town,” said Worcester. “Friday and Saturday, two days of qualifying, $7 a ticket.”

For more information, including schedule and tickets, got to http://www.CTOpen.org.

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