Hour-long lines on the way into the US Open

Tony Dorson has been coming to the U.S. Open for more than 25

years. He never had to wait so long to get to his seat as he did

Monday.

Lines that snaked for a quarter mile or more – from the exit

point of the No. 7 train to the East entrance of the Billie Jean

King Tennis Center – made for delays of up to an hour to get inside

the grounds.

All a product of newly installed metal detectors the U.S. Tennis

Association is making all ticketholders pass through this year

before entering the grounds.

”Never seen it like this,” said Dorson, who was on hand for

the first session of the two-week event. ”People are frustrated.

For me, it’s worth it, because I love tennis.”

The USTA had already limited the size and number of bags fans

can bring into the tennis center. It had been considering adding

metal detectors even before the Boston Marathon in April, when

bombs killed three people near the finish line.

Tournament spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA now has what

it calls ”airport-type security,” with the metal detectors and

the use of wands to check spectators who set off the detectors.

Fans won’t need to take off shoes or belts.

Widmaier said fans have voiced their displeasure over the long

wait to get in Monday. He said the USTA would continue to ask fans

to prepare for delays while also trying to streamline the security

process. Gates were scheduled to open a half-hour earlier than

usual Tuesday – 9:30 a.m. EDT – for matches beginning at 11 a.m.

EDT.

”Do I still think it will be somewhat delayed? Yes, I do,”

Widmaier said. ”But given what we saw this morning, we’re going to

learn from that and make the process more efficient.”

The U.S. Open will draw upward of 650,000 fans over the two

weeks, many of them watching from 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium,

the largest tennis stadium in the world.

With the lines stretching longer than he’d ever seen, John Sordi

took his daughter, Emma, for a walk around the park at Flushing

Meadows, then queued up again a little later after the crowd had

subsided. It took them about 20 minutes to get in. Sordi said

security workers were doing their best to let small children in

with less of a wait.

He said the merging of people flowing out of buses, the subway

and the Long Island Railroad station, which lets off near the

subway, made things confusing toward the back of the lines.

”You weren’t really sure where to go,” Sordi said. ”But we

figured it out. It’s OK with me. Just need to give yourself a

little extra time.”