The U.S. Open welcomed fans back for the first time since 2019 as Day One of the crown jewel of American tennis started in warm and sunny weather at Flushing Meadows on Monday (August 30).
Families and groups of friends were among the tennis fans to pack the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center one year after COVID-19 forced the tournament to proceed without an in-person audience.
This year, tennis fans 12 years or older will be required to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend the U.S. Open.
Fans at the U.S. Open said they were just happy to be back.
“It’s incredible. It’s really great to see the excitement and the energy back and yeah, hopefully we’ll see some great tennis,” said Andy Gavrin who came to the his daughter, Rachel.
Sandra Unger, from Minneapolis, came to the U.S. Open with her brother. “When we got our tickets, I just about cried just thinking about being back.”
She added, “I feel safe and the vaccine thing was huge to feel like it’s okay to be here.”
Gavrin also said he appreciated the vaccine rule.
“I am so thrilled that you needed a vaccine card to get in and we’ll be wearing our masks when it’s crowded. And yeah, I think it’s what we should be doing.
The USTA confirmed that the mandate does not apply to athletes competing in the tournament, some of whom have previously expressed reluctance to receive the shot.
(Production: Angela Moore, Andrew Hofstetter)