US Open 2023
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 28 August-10 September
Coverage: Daily live text and radio commentaries across the BBC Sport website, app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra
World number eight Maria Sakkari said she could smell “weed” on court during her straight-set loss to Rebeka Masarova at the US Open.
Sakkari, 28, was beaten 6-4 6-4 by the Spanish world number 71 in the first round of the final Grand Slam of the year.
The Greek was leading 4-1 in the first set at Flushing Meadows when she signalled to the umpire of the scent.
“Oh my god… I think it’s from the park”, said Sakkari.
Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK and is illegal to possess, distribute, sell or grow but it is legal in New York State for adults 21 and older.
Sakkari’s loss was her third successive first-round exit at a Grand Slam, as she also fell at the first hurdle at the French Open and Wimbledon this year.
Despite making her complaint to the umpire during the defeat, Sakkari insisted she was not using the smell as an excuse.
Sakkari said in her post-match news conference: “We were practising here yesterday and it was the same. 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.”