Yale takes unique role as WTA tournament sponsor

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- New Haven, the final tennis stop prior to the U.S. Open, no longer has a title sponsor or a men's draw, but organizers say they are confident of the tournament's future because it does have a very big name behind it -- Yale University.

The WTA's inaugural New Haven Open at Yale is being held this week at Connecticut Tennis Center on the Yale campus. Play began on Sunday.

But this year, Yale will be taking on a much bigger role than host, becoming one of five major sponsors of the tournament. Yale stepped in financially to help save the tournament after Pilot Pen ended its 15-year run as a title sponsor last year.

Michael Morand, a Yale spokesman, said the school wants to preserve what has been a cultural boon to the city and university community. But, he says it also understands that the tournament, which is televised in more than 100 countries, projects a positive image of Yale around the globe.