NEW YORK — Even while she was rolling on the court, Maria Sakkari was bothered by the smell of something off it.
“It was weed,” Sakkari said.
The No. 8 seed from Greece was eliminated from the US Open in the first round Monday with a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Rebeka Masarova, a match she seemed in control of until she mentioned the smell toward the chair umpire during a changeover.
Sakkari was leading 4-1 in the first set on Court 17 at that point.
“The smell, oh my gosh,” Sakkari said. “I think it’s from the park.”
Sakkari, a semifinalist at the US Open two years ago, said the smell of marijuana didn’t affect her while playing. She had practiced on the same court Sunday and already had noticed it then.
“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.”
Nick Kyrgios complained about smelling marijuana during a match last year, saying afterward he is asthmatic and the smell probably wasn’t good for him when he was running around.
But Sakkari said it didn’t cause any problems while competing in what became her third straight first-round exit in a Grand Slam tournament.
“Sometimes you smell food, sometimes you smell cigarettes, sometimes you smell weed,” Sakkari said. “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.”