- A strong waft of weed in Court 17, New York City welcomed the 2023 US Open
- Maria Sakkari was the first to complain about this
- Alexander Zverev also complained of the same citing it was akin to Snoop Dogg’s living room
A strong waft of weed in Court 17, New York City welcomed the 2023 US Open and it rubbed some tennis players such as Maria Sakkari the wrong way.
In recent years, marijuana has become infamous among players for its distinct, recognizable odour.
On Tuesday, a potent marijuana fragrance floated over Court 17, where eighth-seeded Sakkari complained about an unpleasant whiff of smoke during her first-round loss.
She wasn’t the only player who complained about this. German tennis player Alexander Zverev had a strong distaste for this smell that he equated to a characteristic odour in American hip hop star Alexander Snoop Dogg’s sitting room.
“Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room. Oh my God, it´s everywhere. The whole court smells like weed,” the world No.12 told Mail Sports.
The United States Tennis Association did a sort of inquiry to identify the source of the scent after Sakkari’s match on Monday and Zverev’s remarks on Tuesday.
There are reports that marijuana may have arrived from Corona Park, which is just outside the gates of the small stadium court.
USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier stated they questioned officials and examined video footage of the lunchtime match and found “no evidence” that anyone was smoking marijuana in the Court 17 stands.
While leading 4-1 in the first set, Sakkari expressed her displeasure to the chair umpire, saying the pungent smell of weed seemed to have been billowing from the park.
Sakkari ended up losing to Rebeka Masarova in a two-set match 6-4, 6-4. She said that it was hard to control such because people at the park were doing their thing freely.
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.
Ricardo Rojas, a member of the Flushing Meadows security team who was manning the gate outside Court 17 on Monday, reported that when he went outside for a break around the time of Sakkari’s match, there was definitely a pot smell going on.
But he added that even though the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has a rigorous no-smoking rule, the park is outside the USTA’s jurisdiction.
Adults 21 and older may possess up to three ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for personal use in New York. They are also allowed to smoke or vape cannabis anywhere where tobacco smoking is permitted.
Other players have previously voiced concerns about the marijuana odour coming from Court 17. It is a 2,500-seat arena built in 2011 and is located in the complex’s far southwest corner with less of a buffer between it and the park.
Wimbledon winner Marketa Vondrousova described a similar incident after resoundingly winning her match on Court 17 on Tuesday.
Other athletes have already voiced concerns regarding the marijuana odours coming from Court 17, a venue with 2,500 seats. There’s a park behind. People can do whatever they want,” she told reporters after the match.