Updated 08/27/2012 02:57 PM
Tennis Fans Brave Soggy Start To U.S. Open
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The U.S. Open is back up and running in Queens with scores of eager fans ready for action following a three hour and 15-minute rain delay earlier today.
About 700,000 fans are expected to visit Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 20-day tournament.
Organizers say the Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world.
"We just have a great time, we love the day, and it's a good venue and it's exciting, we look forward all year," said one tennis fan.
This year, the USTA is spotlighting a number of fan attractions including an up-close view of the practice courts, hitting bays where fans can learn to hit like the pros, and more seating on the outer courts.
"Seating has been increased by 50 percent on all the outer courts. I mean, the outer courts are what makes the U.S. open, the U.S. Open. It's rare that at a sporting event you can get some of the greatest athletes of a particular sport nearly as close as I am to you right now," said USTA Managing Director of Communications Chris Widmaier.
Fans looking to escape the rain Monday had a few places to seek cover, including the expanded U.S. Open American Express Fan Experience, where visitors can get their serve analyzed and play some virtual tennis.
"We know these people are passionate about tennis and this event. This helps them really do more with it," said Alex Chang of American Express.
Those heading to this year's tournament will also have tons of food options to choose from. Whether it's Mexican, a sandwich from the Carnegie Deli, or old fashioned favorites like burgers, fries and hot dogs, vendors will be scoring big points with hungry fans.
"I'm a hot dog guy, so this looked good. I've never had it Coney Island-style so it looked like the best thing they had," said one tennis fan.
The U.S. Open runs through September 9.
Some of the top players expected during the Open are Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and others.
For more information about tickets or various matches, visit usopen.org.