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USTA to refine emergency prep after rain issues at Flushing Meadows

Fans at Flushing Meadows dealt with the suspension of public transportation, closure of several roads and a temporary travel banGETTY IMAGES

Thousands of fans were left stranded at Flushing Meadows for the U.S. Open as a result of flash floods in N.Y., and USTA COO Daniel Zausner said that the organization "was not adequately prepared for the large amount of rain but doesn't believe the USTA would do much differently if it had the chance to do it again," according to Maine & Kumar of ESPN.com. Zausner: "We will reevaluate it and will know for the next time. I am sure there are subtle things along the way that we could always do better, we're not perfect, but we kept the fans safe and secure." Flushing Meadows saw a "logistical nightmare Wednesday after the suspension of public transportation, closure of several roads and a temporary travel ban." The organization had two meetings with the NYPD, and Zausner believed that it "made the best decisions with the information and forecast it had." He said that the org's meteorologists "believed there would be heavy rain, but nothing the roofs of stadiums couldn't handle, and they made the decision to hold the night sessions as planned." The USTA asked fans to shelter in place inside the stadiums, but the Louis Armstrong Stadium roof, erected in '18, began to "leak, and sideways rain poured in through ventilation gaps just below the roof, leaving the entire stadium soaked in water." Around 10:00pm, a notice flashed on the stadium video board that "service for the 7 subway line and the Long Island Railroad had been suspended" (ESPN.com, 9/2).

NICE INITIAL IMPRESSIONS: The USTA is requiring fans attending to U.S. Open to show proof of vaccination, and ESPN’s Brad Gilbert said the USTA has “better screening” for their COVID protocols that in the past. Gilbert said, "Before they had like these airport screeners, so they are doing a much better job of getting people in and out. The first day, there was way too long of lines, people waiting forever. They've opened up a few more lanes.” Gilbert called the crowds that have been on hand "vibrant" and said, "We've seen great matches and there are still very good crowds. I see people walking in and out of the gates with bagsful of stuff. There’s great enthusiasm and passion at the tournament so far, and hopefully it will continue with great matches” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 9/3).

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