A top-10 tennis player said she could smell “weed” on court during her US Open match before suffering a shock defeat.
Maria Sakkari was leading opponent Rebeka Masarova 4-1 in the first set when she signalled to the umpire of the scent, which she would clarify as “weed” in a post-match press conference.
The Greek player complained of the smell saying: “Oh my God… I think it’s from the park”.
She added: “We were practising here yesterday and it was the same”, before quizzically shrugging and wiping herself down.
The number eight seed would go on to lose the match 6-4, 6-4, crashing out of the Grand Slam to Spaniard Masarova ranked 71 in the world.
Sakkari did not attribute her defeat to the smell, however.
Speaking to the press after the game she said: “It wasn’t the smell that affected the scoring.
“It was just a comment because it was smelling quite a lot, but it has nothing to do with the match.”
She insisted that the smell was “irrelevant” adding that “sometimes it smells food, sometimes it smells cigarettes, sometimes it smells weed, it’s something we cannot control because we are in an open space.
“There is a park behind, people can do whatever they want.”
Evidently upset in the press conference, Sakkari clarified that she “did not pay attention” to the marijuana scent after initially detecting it.
Australian player Nick Kyrgios reportedly complained of a similar smell during the tournament last year.