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All eyes on Serena Williams as U.S. Open starts at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Huge crowds in Flushing Meadows for U.S. Open
Huge crowds in Flushing Meadows for U.S. Open 01:46

NEW YORK -- The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was filling up with smiling fans Monday as many eagerly awaited Serena Williams' first match in the U.S. Open women's singles tournament at 7 p.m. 

Williams will pair with her sister, Venus Williams, for doubles action on Wednesday, CBS2's John Dias reported. 

"If I see Serena, I'm going to scream," said Barbara Taylor, from Arkansas. 

Taylor and her husband extended their trip to New York City when they got tickets. 

"This is a bucket list item for me. I have got to go to the U.S. Open and the fact that it's Serena's retirement, I can't believe it. It's a dream come true," said Taylor. 

Exciting building for start of US Open 03:05

Fans far and wide had mixed feelings when Williams announced her retirement and said this U.S. Open is likely her final event.

"It has to happen to everyone eventually," one fan said. 

"We love retirement, so you go girl," said another. 

"In so many ways, this is a tribute to Serena Williams," said Elizabeth Morancy, from Middletown, Rhode Island. 

Williams' announcement made tickets to this year's U.S. Open the hottest tennis tickets ever, according to some analysts. 

"The ticket sales were off the charts before Serena's announcement. It really just went to a whole new level. She's an incredibly special athlete. What she's meant to the sport is unlike anybody else," said Daniel Zausner, chief operating officer for the National Tennis Center.

US Open underway, with fans excited to watch Serena Williams 02:51

For the first time since 2019, American Express brought back its fan experience with a number of unique spaces full of interactive tennis games.

Fans said the mix of tennis matches and activities keep them coming back. 

"Energy at every point, it's electric, it's awesome," said Tyler Neil, from New Jersey

With the fun, comes tight security. While there are no credible threats, the NYPD said it has the whole area protected. 

NYPD on US Open security 10:53

"Some of the security measures you will see. Others you will not," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. 

"The U.S. Open is one of the most heavily attended sporting events in the world and we will have around-the-clock security," said NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey. 

In 2019, a record 737,000 fans attended the U.S. Open. Some officials believe attendance will be even higher this year. 

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