Maria Sakkari, who was the 8th seed in the women's singles at the 2023 U.S. Open, claimed she detected the scent of marijuana during her unexpected first-round defeat against Rebeka Masarova on Monday evening.
"It was weed," Sakkari clearly stated post-match, as reported by ESPN.
Despite initiating the game dominantly and leading 4-1 on Court 17 against Masarova, Sakkari lost in consecutive sets, 6-4, 6-4. She mentioned she had been sensing the aroma since the start of the match.
The athlete from Greece informed the chair umpire about the scent of marijuana during one of the match's changeovers.
"I think it’s from the park," Sakkari remarked.
Maria Sakkari smells weed during tennis match. pic.twitter.com/JDRvAV8NXc
— MMA Cardinal???????? (@MmaCardinal) August 28, 2023
Even though she noticed the scent of marijuana, Sakkari did not use it as a reason for her performance.
"You don’t really think about it, because all you care is just to win the match," Sakkari expressed. "I smelled it, but that was it. Like, it wasn’t something that I paid attention to."
She further explained, "Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell weed. I mean, it's something we cannot control, because we're in an open space. There's a park behind. People can do whatever they want."
While Sakkari wasn't overly bothered, other players such as Nick Kyrgios have raised concerns in the past for health-related reasons.
In a game the previous year, Kyrgios detected the scent of marijuana and, being asthmatic, he expressed concerns about its impact on his health, especially during play.
Sakkari faced her third consecutive first-round departure in a Grand Slam Tournament.
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