NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Thousands of tennis fans are flocking to Queens with the start of the U.S. Open Monday.

Nearly 700,000 fans are expected to fill the stands at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows over the next two weeks, according to the U.S. Open.

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“I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “I come every year.”

“The beginning days, you get to see the better players play on the outside courts which is why we always like to go in the beginning days,” another man said. “In the later rounds, you have to go the main stands, but here you can get really close up to them which is awesome.”

The 15 days of competition showcases more than 250 of the best players in the world. Many fan favorites will take the court, but several different players have won major titles this year, which only adds to the drama.

The 2013 men’s singles champion, Rafael Nadal of Spain, withdrew from this year’s tournament because of an injured right wrist. The men’s top seed, Novak Djokovic, is in action on opening day.

The 2013 women’s singles champion, Serena Williams, is going for her sixth U.S. Open and 18th overall Grand Slam title.

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But in the first three major tournaments of 2014, she didn’t even make the quarterfinals. Her last appearance on the Grand Slam stage took a bizarre turn when an out-of-sorts Williams pulled out of a Wimbledon doubles match, blaming a viral illness.

For the next two weeks, security will be tight and every person will need to pass through a security check point. Fans are limited to one bag each and all bags are subject to searches.

Additional size restrictions for bags also apply. For a full list of what you can and cannot bring with you and other security measures at the U.S. Open, click here.

Fans are also advised to use mass transit instead of driving.

The first matches began at 11 a.m. with the official opening ceremony at 7 p.m.

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