Maria Sakkari shocked by marijuana odor during US Open upset loss

23:19 29.08.2023

Greek tennis player Maria Sakkari, ranked No. 8 in the field, experienced an unexpected upset in her first-round match against Rebeka Masarova at the 2023 U.S. Open. However, it was not the loss that caught the attention of the media, but rather Sakkari's claims of smelling marijuana during the match.

Sakkari, known for her strong presence on the court, appeared to be in control of the match, leading 4-1 on Court 17 against Masarova. It was at this point that Sakkari first noticed the distinct smell of marijuana. Frustrated by the unexpected scent, she mentioned it to the chair umpire during a changeover, attributing it to the nearby park.

Surprisingly, despite the distraction, Sakkari did not make any excuses for her performance. She acknowledged the smell but stated that she did not let it affect her focus on winning the match. "You don't really think about it because all you care is just to win the match," Sakkari said. "I smelled it, but that was it. Like, it wasn't something that I paid attention to."

Interestingly, Sakkari's experience was not unique. Australian player Nick Kyrgios had previously complained about the smell of marijuana during a match, citing his asthma as a concern. In contrast, Sakkari did not express any medical concerns related to the smell. "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," she stated.

Sakkari's loss to Masarova marked her third consecutive first-round exit in a Grand Slam tournament. This result is unexpected considering that just last year, she held the No. 3 spot in the world rankings, making her the highest-ranked Greek player in history alongside men's standout Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Despite the disappointing outcome, Sakkari firmly dismissed any connection between the smell of marijuana and her performance. "It wasn't the smell that affected the score in any way. It was just a comment because I didn't expect to smell it. But it has nothing to do with the match," she clarified.

In the end, Sakkari's experience serves as a reminder of the various distractions that athletes may encounter during their matches. While the smell of marijuana may not have hindered her play, it highlights the need for players to maintain focus amidst external factors beyond their control.

/ Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 11:19 PM /

All rights to the materials belong to the sources indicated under the heading of each news and their authors.