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U.S. Open Gates to Open Earlier After Long Lines for Tennis Fans

Gates will open a half-hour earlier today at the U.S. Open after enhanced security measures caused long delays for some spectators on the opening day of the year’s final Grand Slam tennis tournament.

Yesterday morning, one entry line stretched about a quarter-mile (0.4 kilometers) along the boardwalk that separates the National Tennis Center from Citi Field, home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets, and the No. 7 line subway station. There were no lines in the afternoon, or for the evening session.

The delays, as long as an hour for some fans, were attributed to security measures that included 12 metal detectors at the entry point that had long lines yesterday morning.

“It’s airport-type security, but we’re not asking you to remove your belt and shoes,” said Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the U.S. Tennis Association that runs the tournament. “We do have additional steps in place this year, and those steps will remain in place for the entire tournament.”

Gates will open at 9:30 this morning, 90 minutes before the start of play.

“There were long lines, longer than we were anticipating,” Widmaier said. “We’ll have a much better process in place tomorrow morning.”

Widmaier said in an interview that the USTA was examining tighter security measures even before the bombings at April’s Boston Marathon, which left three spectators dead.

“We reassess our security procedures each year and work very closely with all law enforcement agencies on the local, state and federal level when building our security plan for the tournament,” Mike Rodriguez, the tournament’s security director, said on the U.S. Open website. “We ask for the fans’ patience and understanding as it relates to these new procedures.”

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