Maria Sakkari, the world number eight tennis player, was knocked out in the first round of the US Open by Rebeka Masarova of Spain. Sakkari made an unusual complaint to the umpire about the scent of “weed” drifting through the court during the play. Sakkari argued, despite the diversion, that the stench had nothing to do with her loss.
The Peculiar Incident
During the play, Sakkari alerted the umpire to a strong odour that resembled cannabis. At the time, she was up 4-1 in the opening set. “Oh my God… I think it’s from the park,” Sakkari exclaimed. Although cannabis is legal in New York State for adults over the age of 21, it is not permitted at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.
Not an Excuse
Sakkari was quick to point out that the scent was not to blame for her defeat. “It wasn’t the smell that affected the scoring,” she explained after the game. “It was just a passing remark because it was smelling strongly, but it has nothing to do with the match.”
A String of First-Round Exits
Sakkari’s first-round departure in a Grand Slam this year is his third in a row, following identical results at the French Open and Wimbledon. During a post-game interview, the Greek player sobbed, implying that she may need to take a sabbatical from the sport.
The Emotional Toll
Sakkari was visibly upset during the post-match press conference. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m suffering on the court. I’m trying to do everything to improve myself. When I don’t influence the game, it allows my opponents to play well,” she said.
The defeat casts doubt on Sakkari’s future in the sport, especially given her recent run of first-round exits. She might think about taking a sabbatical to review her game and return stronger.
Maria Sakkari’s first-round exit from the US Open was a shocking event, made even more peculiar by her complaint about the smell of “weed” during the match. While she insists that the smell was not a factor in her loss, the incident adds another layer of complexity to her current struggles in Grand Slam tournaments.