Fans have been eagerly awaiting their chance to attend the US Open after a two-year wait, but thousands were left fuming over 'awful' scenes ahead of the Grand Slam.
The 2021 US Open kicked-off with the exciting news fans, who have been double vaccinated, would be able to attend the final Grand Slam of the year after Covid-19 forced the tournament to be held with no spectators last year.
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This prompted thousands to make their way to Flushing Meadows for the start at 11am.
However, new protocols requiring attendees to show vaccination cards and go through metal detectors sparked chaos.
Thousands were greeted with two-hour long queues, in sweltering heat, as fans were still waiting to enter the park at 1.30pm.
To make matters worse, leading tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg said a woman had collapsed in the heat.
Fans queuing took to social media to blast tennis officials for the queues, during the Covid-19 pandemic, after missing matches.
Others took aim at the chaotic scenes on the opening day.
Omg. This is awful
— She’s Come Undone WEAR A MASK🔥 (@PatriciaSoll1) August 30, 2021
An elderly woman has collapsed in the heat here, folks are shouting for a doctor. #USOpen
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 30, 2021
This is ridiculous! Horrible crowd control. Never seen anything like it.
— Virginia Thumm (@vthumm) August 30, 2021
does this seem like a safe situation? pic.twitter.com/YZfgwxO4tM
— jdnyc718 (@jdnyc718) August 30, 2021
This is horrible. I hope they fix this for the rest of the week. I wonder if they are short staffed
— JE (@jesportsgirl) August 30, 2021
Getting closer to the entrance but still so packed. Already been on line about 40mins pic.twitter.com/9nCCUb8wzm
— Sapna Shah (@sapnaashah) August 30, 2021
— Craig Shapiro (@Shaptennispod) August 30, 2021
If you are going to the US Open, expect really long lines to get in. One fan waiting for two hours told me, “it’s an administrative s*#% show.”
— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) August 30, 2021
— Lou (@LouisDamiano_) August 30, 2021
— Maggie Tate (@blushandblooms) August 30, 2021
We have Missed them because we are in a 2hour line pic.twitter.com/wq4oW3mEqR
— lethalsital (@lethalsital) August 30, 2021
And hardly any masks to be seen
— Kayezad E Adajania (@kayezad) August 30, 2021
A line formed at the South Gate entrance, which stretched more than 350m long and had nearly 5,000 spectators waiting.
The scenes sparked concerns over Covid-19 on the first day of the tournament.
Lines began to dissipate around 1.30pm, before the US Open released a statement about the mayhem.
A lot of understandable frustration today from fans with the long lines and unusually long waits to get into the US Open on Day One
The USTA responds and says it is "actively seeking solutions" pic.twitter.com/kN2BZlhJvt
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 30, 2021
US Open's new Covid-19 vaccine protocol
This year's US Open will see tennis fans 12 years or olde required to show proof of a Covid-19 vaccine in order to attend the Grand Slam.
Just three days before the main draw is set to begin, the New York City mayor's office on Friday mandated proof of vaccine to enter Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main venue for primetime matches.
The United States Tennis Association then elected to extend the vaccine requirement to all attendees 12 years old or older at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, regardless of which facilities ticketholders plan to access.
"Any US Open attendee with tickets to Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand, or the grounds of the US Open, will be required to provide proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine," the USTA said in a statement.
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