US Olympian Varvara Lepchenko Helps Launch 2012 New Haven Open Breast Cancer Initiatives

World No. 44 and US Olympic Team member Varvara Lepchenko lost a grandmother to breast cancer before she even got to meet her. New Haven Open Tournament Director Anne Worcester won her battle with the disease just last year.

Breast cancer affects millions of people every year, either directly or through friends and family members. The 2012 New Haven Open at Yale presented by First Niagara has placed the battle against breast cancer among its top priorities.

Worcester joined Lepchenko on the CYBEX Pink Treadmill in front of First Niagara Bank in New Haven on Wednesday to announce the brand new “15-Love” ticket promotion as well as the return of the CYBEX Pink Ribbon Run sponsored by Healthtrax to the New Haven Open.

The “15-Love” promotion celebrates 15 years of women’s tennis in New Haven, and for 15 days only, all middle-tier tickets will be on sale for $15 (which is up to a 66 percent discount for fans). Additionally, $2 of each ticket sold will be donated directly to Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center at Yale New Haven. First Niagara will also make a matching donation of $1 per ticket sold (up to $5,000) to Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center. This “15-Love” promotion will run for a limited time, July 11-26.

The CYBEX Pink Ribbon Run sponsored by Healthtrax returns to the New Haven Open this year and offers players, fans, sponsors and media the opportunity to walk or run on a special pink treadmill to raise funds for breast cancer. For every mile logged, donations will be made to Smilow Cancer Hospital Breast Center at Yale-New Haven. In addition, the pink treadmill, which will be signed by the WTA players and celebrities, will be auctioned off after the New Haven Open and all proceeds will be donated to the Breast Center at Smilow.

Wednesday’s event celebrated the fighting spirit of the New Haven Open and its partners, players and fans. The event launched initiatives that are helping the fight against breast cancer and helped tell Varvara Lepchenko’s incredible story about her fight to get to the top of the women’s game and onto the U.S. Olympic Team.

Lepchenko was born in Uzbekistan, but due to cultural bias within the community, immigrated to the Unites States in her mid-teens. While applying for a visa, she was not allowed out of the country, so she would sit at home in Allentown, PA and watch as other of the world’s top players would compete in the Grand Slams. Thus, she battled through smaller ITF tournaments throughout the country, staying with various host families and winning her first title in Allentown in 2005. Varvara then went on to win 10 more ITF titles from 2005 to 2011, all of which came on American soil.

She was finally able to switch nationalities in 2007 and became a U.S. citizen in September of 2011 Since then, she has seen a meteoric rise in her ranking. From having to qualify for nearly every event she entered at the beginning of 2012 to breaking into the top 50 after a fourth round appearance at the French Open, Lepchenko has demonstrated her fighting spirit and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.

This American dream story will reach a pinnacle this Summer, when Varvara will become one of only six women to represent the United States on its tennis team at the Olympics.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the support


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